More money is being spent destroying the environment than protecting it, according to the report from the environmental audit committee (EAC).
The government’s 25-year environment plan to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030 and its promise to deliver biodiversity net gain on infrastructure projects look good on paper, but inadequate monitoring and a lack of compliance mean the government is not delivering on them. Nature is still not being taken into account in policymaking. Funding cuts and a lack of ecological expertise in government and local authorities is worsening the situation, MPs said.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “We are losing species at a terrifying rate and multiple warnings are not being heeded. The collapse in biodiversity has to be pushed up the political agenda, and nature protection and restoration given the priority and resources it needs, before it’s too late. The Treasury still sticks to an outdated mindset, which sees GDP growth as the key measure of progress and nature as an expendable resource. That has to change, as the report makes clear.”
Philip Dunne, chairman of the committee, said despite countless policies to improve the natural environment, they remain “grandiose statements lacking teeth and devoid of effective delivery mechanisms”.