The Independent reports ‘As rivers become toxic and countryside becomes devoid of wildlife, the government must be held to account,’ say campaignersThe UK government is set to miss legally binding environment targets in 2020, according to an investigation that found it had failed on “pretty much every aspect” of protecting wildlife and the environment.
Despite promises to prioritise green issues, the UK has made little progress on tackling carbon emissions, air and water pollution, waste and overfishing, as well as increasing tree planting and biodiversity. Boris Johnson promised to “do extraordinary things on the environment”, yet the country’s green credentials are in disrepute, according to the investigation by Greenpeace’s journalism unit Unearthed and the Financial Times.
Tunnel in trees at Witley Common by Richard August under creative commons.
The Guardian reports National Parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty have not done enough to protect nature or welcome diverse visitors, and extra government funding must help drive radical change, according to a review.
The independent review, commissioned by the former environment secretary Michael Gove, praises the work of England’s 44 “national landscapes”, including the Lake District and Dartmoor, but calls for a new focus to stop declines in nature and welcome working-class and black and minority ethnic visitors.
The Guardian reports Natural England chair bemoans budget cuts that have left conservation body ‘massively depleted’. The reserves and protected places that are the “jewels in the crown” of English nature cannot be managed properly because of budget cuts, Tony Juniper, the chair of Natural England, has said.
The Guardian reports “pest” bird species such as crows, woodpigeons and jays can no longer be freely killed in England after the government’s conservation watchdog revoked the licence permitting it. The move by Natural England came after a challenge to the legality of the “general licence” by a new environmental group, Wild Justice, created by conservationists Mark Avery, Ruth Tingay and Chris Packham.
Natural England now plans to introduce a legal system of licences to allow 16 species of birds, including rooks, magpies, Canada geese and non-native parakeets, to be controlled. In the meantime, anyone wanting to control these species must apply for an individual licence, as they are required to if seeking to kill other more protected bird species.
Wildlife campaigners have greeted the decision, which came on Tony Juniper’s first day as the new chair, with delight, but many farmers – and some conservationists – were dismayed.
Photo by Valters Krontal under creative commons.