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New report says that biodiversity loss in Northern Ireland should be treated as a climate crisis.
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New report says that biodiversity loss in Northern Ireland should be treated as a climate crisis.

Northern Ireland's biodiversity loss should be on equal footing to climate crisis, says new report


According to five major nature bodies, biodiversity should be on an equal footing with climate crisis.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency is among the groups calling for greater action and investment following a new report outlining how we can have a ‘Nature Positive’ UK by 2030.

The joint report reveals how nature support can have huge benefits for human health, well-being, and our economy.

But NIEANatural England, Natural Resources Wales (Natural England), NatureScot, and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee believe that transformational change is needed in society and in how we interact with nature.

Paul Donnelly, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, said: “Our biodiversity is under severe pressure at a time when we have never been more in need of it to counter the impacts of climate change.

“Achieving a nature positive future and restoring our natural capital is essential for our health, well-being and prosperity.

“We all have a role to play in safeguarding, restoring, and reconnecting with nature.

“The UK Nature Positive 2030 Report helps show how this can be done. These examples, including those from Northern Ireland show that positive action is taking place and delivering results for people and nature.

“We need to build on and accelerate these actions to ensure that we are building resilient nature for now and for future generations.”

Northern Ireland’s biodiversity is in serious decline with a number of species at risk of extinction because of a range of factors including habitat loss and degradation, farming practices and harmful levels of emissions like ammonia.

Joanne Sherwood, Director, RSPB NI, said: “RSPB NI welcomes this report, which highlights the urgency of reaching a Nature Positive world by 2030, and are encouraged by the wide range of recommendations.

“Nature across Northern Ireland is in crisis with around one quarter of bird species at risk from extinction and only one out of 49 priority habitats in good condition.

A curlew chick

“The NI Executive must set a direction of ambitious and immediate action, including legally binding targets, to tackle both the nature and climate crisis so we can revive our world.

“RSPB NI is ready to play its part.”

The Nature Positive 2030 Report – which contains nine priority actions, calls for action and investment in nature right now.

It suggests that businesses, organisations, cities, and governments adopt targets to be Nature Positive and put the climate change and biodiversity loss crises on equal footing.

The report was released on Wednesday to coincide with the first anniversary of the Leader’s Pledge for Nature, which was signed by over 80 Heads of State from around the world.

It sets out how the UK can meet its commitments in that pledge for nature and ensure that nature’s recovery plays a critical role in our path to Net Zero.

Nature Positive 2030 nine priority actions include:

  1. Protected areas at sea and in protected areas of land are vital for wildlife.
  2. It is important to conserve wildlife habitats that are not protected, especially those that are part nature networks or have important blue/green infrastructural components.
  3. Invest in habitat restoration and creation to build nature networks that support biodiversity and climate change.
  4. In land and sea development plans, it is important to ensure that nature’s interests are considered.
  5. Combating atmospheric and diffuse water pollutants, particularly nitrogen and ammonia
  6. Green finance market development
  7. By default, nature-based solutions for climate mitigation
  8. Developing the UK’s evidence base so that it is ready to support the larger, transformative changes underway
  9. To be nature positive, set goals

The report stresses the need to put our ambitions for nature recovery on the same footing as those for climate change – and how individuals, businesses, cities and governments that are striving to become Net Zero need to become nature positive too.

This includes setting targets for nature and taking positive actions to improve nature. For example, creating wildlife habitat on land-holdings or gardens, ensuring that nature is improved through supply chains, and using our power in our wallets so we can choose nature-friendly options when we shop.

Natural England chair, Tony Juniper, said: “We can become Nature Positive by 2030, provided we act now.

“We need to go high nature and low carbon, tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change together, and today’s publication sets out how we can do this.”

Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Restoring nature is our primary defence against climate breakdown, and this report demonstrates the collective ambition of all four nations of the UK to do just that.”

NatureScot Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said: “It is everyone’s responsibility to be nature positive. We know the twin crises of climate change and nature loss are inextricably linked – we do both, or do neither.”

Joint Nature Conservation Committee Chairman, Professor Colin Galbraith, added: “This is key year for nature, climate change and for our future wellbeing.”

If you have an environment story, please get in touch at [email protected], @ShaunaReports on Twitter or


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