Updated Jul 13, 2022

Report by the Environment Agency urges action to improve biodiversity

The newly published report by the Environment Agency (EA) calls for urgent action to address England's biodiversity and climate crisis. It focuses on the use of land and the need for nature-based landscaping solutions to help wildlife recover.

The report describes the global challenges facing the basics of life on Earth - clean water, climate regulation and food, and the potential loss of complex natural ecosystems that provide such services, seen as an existential threat to human survival.

The EA's chief executive, Sir James Bevan, said: "The biodiversity crisis joins the climate crisis as an existential risk to our survival, but as this report sets out the solution is not to retreat but to work together to build a nature-positive response.

"Nature provides the basics for life - clean water, clean air and food. With major pressures on land use across England, nature-based solutions must be a major part in our response to protect these essentials whilst rebuilding our natural world."

He also warned about a "silent spring" that awaits humanity unless action is taken by businesses, government and individuals to prevent further damage and rebuild the natural environment, referencing Rachel Carson's 1962 book "Silent Spring", considered by many to be the most important piece of environmental writing of the 20th century.

England is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world as a result of a long history of industrialisation and land use changes. Over centuries, vast areas of habitats have been lost, with 99,7% of fens, 97% of species-rich grasslands, 80% of lowland heathlands, up to 70% of ancient woodland and 85% of saltmarshes destroyed or degraded.

To address these problems, this report sets out a need for more land to be dedicated to nature conservation to act as refuges for nature and to mitigate climate change. For example, coastal wetlands could combat flood risks in certain areas. However, with a great demand on land, the action needs to provide multiple benefits to people and nature.

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