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Your thoughts: Britain's Disappearing Wildlife

How would you feel about a world where the seas were almost empty, the skies silent of wildlife, and there weren't even enough bugs to pollinate our crops?

That's a vision of Britain predicted by some if our rich mixture of wildlife continues to shrink -from butterflies and bumblebees to skylarks and red squirrels.

So far in 2010 the UK has missed two international targets aimed at halting the decline in some of our best-loved native species. As Panorama finds, there's more at stake than simply protecting the beauty of nature - the future of our food supply could be under threat.

We welcome your comments on this programme, please feel free to join our viewers' forum.


  • Comment number 1.

    Just watching tonight's Panorama is surely a clear indication we need much strengthened environmental policicies.

    Richard Benyon needs to put his money were his mouth is regarding the Conservative's pre-election pledge "to be the Greenest ever government".

    Bodies such as Natural England must be further strengthened not just so we ensure a high level of bio-diversity for it's own sake, but for our very survival. The pollination issue is just the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg.

  • Comment number 2.

    Started watching the item on the lack of sealife in the firth of clyde, but couldn't stop ranting. 37 years ago (1973) I was an employee of the white fish authority - a part of the ministry of agriculture developing fishibg and fish farming techniques - it was obvious then that the seas were being over fished. The comment from fishermen, when restraint is advocated, has always been "you can't do that it's my livelyhood". Well fishermen YOU can't do that it's our only planet.

    We need 50% no take zones NOW, and probably in perpetuity.

    Not just to increase catch but to defend the planet against our greed. We need a healthy sea to maintain the air we breathe amongst other reasons. We are part of an ecosystem and if we destroy part of it, then it will malfunction and we as a species will suffer. That includes fishermen and everybody else on the planet.

    rant over, - Im opening a bottle.

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting programme that should have been given an hour so that it could cover the subject in more depth. For instance, no mention of the 4500 Sites of Special Scientific Interest in England alone and that they should be constributing to the biodiversity of the country but are clearly not doing so. The programme was very lowland centric with no mention of the mayhem being caused by intensive driven grouse management in the uplands which sees routine damage to globally rare habitats such as blanket bog through rotational burning and the near extermination of birds of prey such as Hen Harriers - we may be failing our biodiversity targets but we are also failing to protect our important wildlife sites designated under European law. It was good to recognise that efforts to halt biodiversity decline have been going on for 15-20 years but it would have been useful to explore further whether the approach is right. It seems strange that no-one from Natural England (Defra by another name?)was invited to comment? They could have discussed how the PSA target on SSSIs has seemingly been met in the face of the continued decline of biodiversity.
    The one encouraging thing seems to be that the voluntary sector e.g. RSPB are finally waking from the slumber of the past 13 years and maybe we can hope to see them banging the drum for biodiversity in a more challenging way from now on, God knows, somebody should be and we cannot rely on the Government or any of its agencies to whip up the necessary support.

  • Comment number 4.

    I enjoyed watching tonights programme, hoping that people are aware of how devastating it can be to lose our wildlife, I particularly love watching the butterflies (when I can see them). I commend the farmers for trying to do their bit to save areas of their land to increase the population for the birds, bees and insects.

    However what about the numbers of homeowners, tenants and landlords that have changed their gardens to be low maintenance by chopping down trees, hedges, replacing grass with paving and stones.

    How many programmes have been on the TV to transform gardens (which are beautiful), that have enspired many people to do the same?

    When I look down my street and see how many gardens have been transformed by digging up mature hedges and trees,plants and replaced with slabbing, stones and wooden fences to inhance their property.

    What kind of effect can that happen to the wildlife in your own local area?

    The nation can be persuded by trends shown on the TV whether it envolves,changing your look, decorating, home improvments and being part of the worldwide PC lovers that need buttons to do our work for us or pay someone to do it for you.

  • Comment number 5.

    Interesting program - shame it wasnt on longer as its such a big issue.
    Is one of the wildlife issues related to actual wildlife protection.
    Here is my example.
    In Derby they want to build an incineration plant on a "brownfield" site - an old tannery which is now an oasis of green. The developers had to do a survey and found common lizards - zootoca vivipara. This is whats called a BAP priority species because its actually in decline. It turns out its the first discovery in Derby for 10 years so locally important. The local wildlife trust and Natural England however are happy for them to be caught, contained and then let out into whats left of the habitat after construction. Now another twist - the site owners - Derby City Council have now mass treated large areas of the site with herbicide potentially destroying the lizards habitat. Natural England advised us to report it as a wildlife crime to Derbyshire police - the latest feedback being its only the lizard thats protected not the habitat. Where is the logic in that? remove a habitat you place the reptile at risk - its a no brainer ! no wonder biodiversity in the UK is under threat ! what makes it worse is I had only asked the council about the sites biodiversity weeks previously !

  • Comment number 6.

    This summer I walked across a field that had at least two pairs of lapwings nesting on it, at least two pairs of yellowhammers nesting in th hedges and countless skylarks lifted out of the crop as I walked through it. This field benefits from higher level stewardship and it seems to be paying off. Now the farmer may get an even bigger yield from the field by having wind turbines built across it. There is no wind but that doesn't seem to matter. The turbines will not perform anywhere near their projected output which is only 30% capacity at its best. What will happen to all these birds while the turbines are being constructed?

    Where is the joined up writing?

    If anyone is really serious about saving the biodiversity of the countryside for our future nutritional needs then please could they stop the rape of the countryside for no other reason that the financial gain of a few individuals.

  • Comment number 7.

    If global warming is going to drive some species out and draw in new arrivals, what is being done to provide them with suitable living conditions? Sad though it is, are we interested in biodiversity or simply preserving our present wildlife? There are differences, even though there are similarities too.

  • Comment number 8.

    I wonder why Panorama didnt interview any scallop fisherman who the programme would lead you to beleive were personally and wholly responsible for the condition of the sea bed shown? it is unfortunate that this balance wasnt availabe as I sure there are two sides to every story.Again in the interest of balance, it is unfortunate that the Panorama crew chose not to invite on Camera the academic they mentioned and or group who had an opposing view to that of the one they interviewed. It is strange that Natural England had no part in this programme, given that they are the Governments advisor on such things...

  • Comment number 9.

    Unfortunately it appears the house rules stops me from mentioning my book and the one on health at present being written. To respond other than being part of the "entertainment value" would take pages and pages. Yes its easy and simple for your web site to condemn the "Big Pharmas" which we all should continually do as they are in effective controllers of our lives (not governments) and we all pay them willingly to do so. The problem is YOU and me, is our lack of spirit/backbone to sought things out ourselves. You see now thats a single sentence that needs pages of writing to clarify. So cheers Panorama for the brief moment exposure.

  • Comment number 10.

    Disappearing wildlife:
    I am an environmental consultant for the group www.newdirectionsfoundation.org and in reply to my complaint about Panaorama not covering important, already disclosed, facts about diminishing wildlife; the answer was that there was not enough time to mention any of these facts. This leaves the viewer mislead and still held in the dark about what is actually going on in the 'farming' world of today. The Purpose of television prgrammes like these should be to enlighten the public - not to confuse them further. It has already be established as a fact by the RSPB that chemicals applied in modern farming are diminishing bird populations. How long would it have taken to state this one sentence. Rather the programme goes out leaving still further mystery and confusion as to why our wildlife is diminishing. It is either very poor programme making, a lack of knowledge of established facts or political.
    There should be more programmes made consulting individual farmers and smallholders (like me)who are doing completely the opposite type of farming and are preserving the planet and the species that live on it.
    For instance I gave the 'Howard Lecture, 2009' at Coventry University which was in aid of making Nigeria Organic. The transcript of this speech was sent to Prince Charles who responded immediately with very warm support. This country is behind other countries in it's environmental policies for farming and bio diversity and that should be made clear to the public. If our food source is now 'under threat' what could be a more important subject to put out on television offering some, or at least, part of the solution. If we are to survive as a race, then modern farming practises have to change.
    Richard Higgins

  • Comment number 11.

    Richard Higgins is correct in pointing out that chemicals applied in modern farming cause a reduction in bird populations. We live in New Zealand where for generations the needs of the farmer took priority over the health of the citizens not to mention the wildlife and birds in particular. We have a stunning 25 acre lifestyle farm which we have discovered is polluted with Dioxin which originated from the high levels of 2,4,5-T spraying. Whilst we have some incredible bird life in the trees the paddocks, river frontage and valley are totally devoid of all wildlife, birds and fish, even the endemic possums don't enter the areas where gorse was killed years ago by spraying!
    Modern farming methods don't care about wildlife and judging by our horrendous experience - https://www.dioxin-nz.com - they don't care too much about human life either!


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