The latest State of Nature report was published this week. It is mostly bleak reading - one in six species in Great Britain are at risk of extinction. There are glimmers of hope, as one of the report's authors says: "...it is possible to reverse biodiversity losses through habitat restoration, sustainable agricultural practices and mitigating climate change, for example" and there are examples of exactly that.
But the timing of the report is particularly poignant - just a few days before, the government delayed by a year (to after the next election?) the introduction of biodiversity net gain (see Delay to biodiversity net gain expected to be announced shortly, Sarah Sackville Hamilton (burges-salmon.com) and earlier in the month the government said they would be scrapping the nutrient neutrality rules for new developments to encourage more house building.
Most people would agree that biodiversity is a good thing - but (like most net zero measures) the question is what price is society today prepared to pay for the benefit of future generations. Government announcements in the last few weeks would suggest a nervousness that the price is too high, particularly with an election in sight
“If we are to get on track toward meeting our national target to become nature positive, then we are going to need a big step up in the way we treat and value nature.”