Cllr Kevin Pressland: Biodiversity in decline

Minster marshes Photo Nik Mitchell

Green Councillor Kevin Pressland is a passionate campaigner for nature and the natural environment.  His understanding of the threats faced by the natural world is based on expertise gained from a 40-year career in horticulture, garden design and sustainable land management:

The Ecologist magazine chief reporter Catherine Early highlighted the UK government’s significant shortfall in meeting its 2030 target to protect 30% of nature despite endorsing its objective internationally in Montreal.

At that UN Biodiversity Conference, the UK made a commitment to protect and conserve a minimum of 30% of land and sea for biodiversity by 2030, known as 30×30.

Natural England Target 3, colloquially known as “30×30”, specifically calls for the effective protection and management of 30% of the world’s terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine areas by the year 2030.

This commitment seems illusory, Thanet being a prime example with Minster Marshes and the adjoining SSSI being compromised.

A recent report on UK conservation efforts reveals minimal growth in protected land under Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s), particularly in England, with worsening conditions noted. The report underlines inadequate monitoring of sites beyond the network, hindering progress evaluation.

Again, Minster Marshes is a prime example of blindly ignoring the plight of this area with fine words in reports which are clearly not enacted in reality to protect the plants, animals, birds and beauty of this area, which is valued by the local human populace too.

Urgently the government must articulate a detailed plan to fulfil its 30 x 30 commitment the report concluded.

Additionally, a December 2023 report by nature experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed contributions toward the UK’s target, painting a grim picture of progress since their last report in 2014.

If Conservatives are not in power by the end of 2024, then whoever is, should be committed to safeguarding ever decreasing native flora and fauna and truly enhancing nature recovery to the 30 x 30 UN Biodiversity commitment practically on the ground, no fine words, action is required.

An economic growth agenda by any political party should define what they perceive growth is. It has to be more than increasing GDP, treasury finances and economic growth no matter what the consequences – Minster Marshes demise being an example. Full Systems Thinking should be the default position within all policy making.

Quality of life, including shelter, happiness, care, love, health (not just curing but preventing illness) respect for each other and the Earth should be truly respected for all benefit, human and those other than human. The obsession with material values trumping everything else has to end.

Will the current dominant political parties wake up to this reality for all our sakes? It is very questionable. Politicians have to be honest about the seriousness of ecological decline. They are not being so at present, fine words but little action.

Bureaucracy, bureaucracy, bureaucracy will not change things, action will.

12 Comments

  1. We are all too well aware of the relentless erosion of our green and pleasant land by developers.

    However, the burgeoning population continues to demand more housing and shopping centres, etc.

    No political party is willing to stand up and say enough is enough.

    We are the authors of our own destiny.

    • Your “burgeoning population” has a single root cause… migration. NOT immigration but the migration of inner city dross dumped on us by an uncaring Thanet District Circus in collusion with outside Thanet boroughs and all in the name of PROFIT and GREED.

  2. Please Councillor could you arrange with KCC to clear the two mattresses, hundreds of cans,a chair,packets of cigarettes, bottles that are strewn for miles of the A299.Now all hidden in the long grass verges.I complained 6 months ago about the years of neglect and it still hasn’t been cleared.Thanet Council is the most litter ridden place I have seen anywhere in the World.No it cant be good for wildlife nor repeat tourism.

    • Agree with David thanet is such a dirty, litter, graffiti, weeds both growing and the smell of people smoking it.

      People who say it isn’t must not
      travel around the UK much. I honestly
      can not think of anywhere worse.

      But I disagree with David in blaming KKC and TDC, it’s the people of thanet that do all of the above. For some reason thanet attracts people who don’t care about where they live.

      Other areas I have visited don’t seem to have trouble with cars, bikes, scooters flying through pedestrian areas, why does thanet, why do people think they can ?
      Other areas don’t have loud pubs with people shouting and being loud outside them all day. How can these people afford pub prices ?

      Lots of people are trying to improve thanet but until thanet people as a whole want improve the area its a waste of time.

      As soon as I reach retirement I’m off, lived here for 30 years and it’s gone down hill with no signs improvement. And don’t get me started on all our taxes being wasted on the arty community, thanet needs diversity not just art.

      • Completely agree. Without all the arts grants and subsidies thrown at the “arts community” they would disappear overnight. Having seen the rubbish “art” on show it would be better to open primary school art classes to the public. The artwork is of a far higher standard and it would also give education some extra income.

  3. “Other areas don’t seem to have trouble with (vehicles)flying through pedestrian areas” and “Other areas don’t have loud pubs”. Can this really be so? It seems very unlikely.

  4. Why not retire to Tilbury as they have no pub, not eating inside restaurants according to that newspaper of record the Daily Express.
    Litter, crime,anti social behaviour, unemployment, low educational attainment are found in most ‘left behind’ areas be they coastal or post industrial.Thanet is just one of many in the UK.
    The decline predates the last 14 years, but conditions have been made much worse in those years.One need only note the substantial growth of Food banks in this period.Prior to 2010 there were under 100,000 free meals issued each year, now it’s on the millions and there are now multiple crisies which unfortunately, the Sunak plan, if it exists at all, cannot turn round to a positive outcome within a few months.

    • Having to pass a food bank each day I am surprised that the recipients of free food can afford to smoke (many puffing away in the queue) and even one with an E-scooter.

      Means test food bank recipients and watch the number drop to a realistic level.

      • Access to food banks is effectively means tested.
        Contrary to the rabid ramblings on the more right-wing press, a person cannot just turn up at a food bank and help themselves to a few dozen tins of salmon. They have to be referred by some sort of responsible agency.

        • If a person who is a smoker or owns an expensive E-scooter then the agency who refers them to a food bank is totally IRRESPONSIBLE and not doing their job properly! I assume the “agency” is yet another social services calamity in the making. If the social services were doing their job properly 1. all welfare would be means tested, 2. only the genuine needy would benefit from welfare payments and 3. no-one would need to use a food bank.

          Rabid ramblings of a right wing press???? I have to witness this abuse of charity daily. Donate to a food bank? I’d rather throw my money away than support many of these spongers.

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