British wildlife campaigner Chris Packham joined protesters outside the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on Thursday following the release of a devastating report on the state of UK wildlife.
On Wednesday, the National Trust released its State of Nature report which found that one in six of the 10,000-plus species across the UK risk going extinct.
The report also found the number of species in the UK has fallen by 19 per cent on average since 1970.
“We don’t have time to wait any longer. We need everyone to be involved in nature restoration as it won’t happen overnight,” Packham told Sky News during the protest in Westminster.
“What we’re saying to all the political parties is to take this seriously. We need a healthy environment, it supports us.”
Unless Government support materialised to support the environment, the Springwatch presenter threatened to take to the streets “on several more occasions” before the next election.
The release of the report comes after regulators approved the Rosebank oil field on Tuesday. The Rosebank field, which lies north-west of Shetland and contains up to 350 million barrels of oil, is currently one of the largest untapped discoveries in UK waters.
Ithaca Energy, which has a 20 per cent stake in the project said it would bring in £8.1billion of direct investment, support 1,600 jobs during construction and 450 during its lifetime.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) agreed to the new project despite heavy criticism from environmental campaigners.
Commenting on the approval, Packham called the decision “catastrophic” and “abject madness”.
“They keep on about jobs in the oil industry. That’s bad, old business,” he said. “We need bright, new business, which is in renewables. That’s where we need our investment, and we have that capability to do that in the UK.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Tory peer Lord Zac Goldsmith also criticised the decision, saying: “It just trashes the UK’s reputation as a reliable, grown-up member of the global community, it’s done us immeasurable harm.”
He also attacked the delay to net zero policies such as a ban on new petrol and diesel cars announced last week by the Prime Minister, saying the Conservative Party seems to be in “disarray” and that he may not be able to vote for it.
Dan Sherrard-Smith, founder of MyMotherTree.com told the Standard: “UK wildlife is in a dire state. Many of our favourite British species are at risk of extinction including the turtle dove and puffin.
“On current trends, we look at a bleak future with, potentially, only household pets and domestic animals sharing our island. Yet we can halt this decline.
“One action all of us can take is to make sure our money - where we bank and our pension - is invested in areas that promote and restore the biodiversity of the UK. This was once a green and pleasant isle. It can be again.”
Daniel Kaul, from Natucate added: “The UK's wildlife has experienced significant declines due to factors like habitat loss, climate change, and pollution, with many species facing potential extinction.
“If no action is taken, the future will see massive species loss, ecosystem destruction, and economic impacts due to reduced biodiversity. To halt this decline, it's crucial to focus on habitat restoration, conscious conservation, public education, robust environmental policies, and addressing needed changes.”
Dr Nicky Dee, founder of Carbon 13 also said: “It would be a sad 12 days of Christmas without the two turtle doves yet this is one of the birds at risk. While alarming, it is an alert to the greater challenges triggered by climate change. The canary in the coalmine is a good analogy, as nature tells us about the state of the planet and our ability to adapt and cope with climate change.
“Biodiversity is our most effective defence against climate change. And that’s why we have invested in startups such as NatureBound and Kita so we are better able to evaluate this link and ensure money goes into the right places.”