Paul Hetherington, the director of fundraising and communcations at insect charity Buglife said: “Buglife are deeply concerned about the cuts to biodiversity funding and feel the key issue is to reinstate connectivity for nature projects such as B-Lines. Another consequence of the cut backs is a lack of protection and care for designated sites such as SSSIs which are in many cases being lost or degraded.”
Insects identified as being under threat include the ladybird spider, shrill carder bee, horrid ground-weaver spider, Fonseca’s seed-fly, Freshwater pearl mussels, the white-claw crayfish and the tansy beetle.
Springwatch presenter Chris Packham said: “Its cruelly ironic that as our species and habitats decline at an ever increasing rate so does the funding available to protect them . Given the monies that DEFRA does have available its shameful that more draconian cuts have been made to protecting biodiversity.
” It betrays a wilful failure to prioritise a secure environmental future over short term human needs and indicates that even now , when the writing is written boldly on the wall in terms of our own peril , that they still are not properly prioritising the wildlife and habitats which we ultimately depend upon . History will not look favourably at this decision , nor those who have made it.”
A Defra spokesperson said: “Our ground-breaking 25 Year Environment Plan sets ambitious goals for nature and biodiversity in England to improve our precious environment, our reforms will reward farmers for conserving and restoring habitats and new planning rules will mean newdevelopments must deliver an overall increase in biodiversity.
“Furthermore, we are now funding projects across the country to turn the tide and restore lost landscapes, promote biodiversity and create habitats for our wildlife to thrive – part of our commitment to protect and improve our natural environment for future generations.”