The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has published its report on ‘Biodiversity in the UK: bloom or bust’, which calls for the Government to conserve and restore UK biodiversity and ecosystems.

The report is published amid grave concern that of the G7 countries, the UK has the lowest level of biodiversity remaining.

The MPs on the Committee found that existing Government policy and targets were inadequate to address plummeting biodiversity loss. This is made worse by nature policy not being joined up across Government, nor is nature protection consistently factored into policy making.

Some key recommendations made by the Committee include:
– The Government must establish a timetable to put management plans and monitoring in place for all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), with different categories of destructive bottom trawling banned or restricted. More MPAs should be established as ‘no-take’ zones
– In the next Spending Review, greater funding must be given to Natural England which reflects its responsibilities and tasks.
– The Government should commission a review identifying and tracking public expenditure harmful to biodiversity. Once identified, Ministers must act to remove harmful subsidies and re-direct money to nature conservation and recovery.
– Tree planting should not occur on peat soils
– Education on biodiversity must increase: a Natural History GCSE should be introduced and investment in skills should be increased for chartered ecology and associated disciplines.

As with so many government reports these are wise words and welcome for Dartmoor and the wider environment, but what action actually follows from them will be the significant outcome…or not!