“No progress” has been made to prevent the extinction of threatened species in the UK, a leading conservation charity has warned.
The Royal Society for the Protection Birds (RSPB) has described the recent decline in the population of rare birds as “catastrophic” and has urged the Government to take immediate action.
Government analysis of its progress under international goals, agreed in 2010 to reverse declines in nature by this year, shows it is meeting or exceeding five out of 20 targets to help wildlife and habitats.
But an assessment by the RSPB suggests the UK is doing worse than the official analysis, and is making no progress or is going in the wrong direction in six areas.
Two-fifths of species have been in decline since 1970, the RSPB said.
The charity’s chief executive Beccy Speight said: “The UK is not alone in failing to meet the ambitious targets set out 10 years ago, but it is now time that the high ambitions set by successive governments becomes action at home as well as leading the international effort.
“Every country in the UK must create legally binding targets to restore nature, invest in nature and green jobs, and support farmers to produce healthy food that’s good for people, climate and wildlife.
Breeding waders such as redshanks, lapwings and dunlins in particular have seen their numbers decimated over the past 35 years.
A study from the charity found that the population of redshanks declined by 53 per cent between 1985 and 2011 and have estimated this figure to have now risen even higher.
The charity said that without government intervention “it won’t be terribly long before we lose these birds permanently”.
Kate Jennings, head of site conservation policy at the RSPB, told the Telegraph: “If the next decade is like the last one, I’d be surprised if we have any left at the end of it.”
“There is a massive gap between the Government’s rhetoric and the reality of what’s actually happening”.
Over £2.9 billion a year for the next decade on environmental land management and £615 million annually for restoring and creating habitats is needed to combat this problem, the charity estimated.