A recent Guardian article by John Vidal examines the misleading spin attempting to paint Britain’s leadership as the “greenest government ever.”
With 2010 drawing to a close, UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced triumphantly:
“Over 95 per cent of England’s finest wildlife and geological sites, covering more than one million hectares of countryside, are now in favourable or recovering condition.”
Spelman’s overly rosy interpretation of the current state of Britain’s environment is at odds with an independent report from Professor Sir John Lawton and a team of leading conservationists who are much less enthusiastic about Britain’s environmental record. Measured according to the scale SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), Sir Lawton’s team found that just 30% of these sites were in favourable condition, with the rest in a mode of “unfavourable recovering.”
Indeed, most at-risk wildlife species have shown no improvement between 1999 and 2008, and 125 of 289 species are in decline. Birds, in particular, are struggling.
Mark Jaccard is professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University.
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