At the current scale we are witnessing, global biodiversity loss represents a grave threat to human populations, and the wider natural world. The latest biodiversity indicators show that between 2012 and 2017, there has been a 33% reduction of surface water bodies in England with high or good status (DEFRA, 2018). The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) warns that without sufficient biodiversity, global food production will become increasingly volatile, consequently threatening global food security (FAO, 2019). Pollution, changes in land-use and climate change continue to ravage local habitats.
The landmark Agriculture Bill 2017-19 is expected to deliver transformative change to the existing farming subsidy system. Farmers will begin to receive payment in exchange for producing 'public goods' under a revised Environmental Land Management System (Defra, 2018). The intended effect is to create a fairer balance between farming for food production and maintaining critical biodiversity. Additionally, the Government’s long-awaited ‘25 Year Environment Plan’ has built on the existing framework, pledging to reduce water contamination and deliver, ‘clean and plentiful water by improving at least three quarters of our waters to be close to their natural state as soon as is practicable’ (DEFRA, 2018).
Despite sustained engagement by policy-makers, progress towards securing UK biodiversity has fallen short of targets and ambitions. Ten measures within the 2020 strategy show a decline in the long-term with a further nine showing decline in the short-term (Defra, 2019). Critics argue that policy change has been, 'too slow, and limited to certain natural systems', precipitating the 'age of environmental breakdown' (IPPR, 2019).
This symposium offers delegates from national and local government, voluntary organisations and the private sector the opportunity to discover the latest policy developments in biodiversity, and to develop solutions for how to protect our natural environment for decades to come.
- Analyse the Biodiversity 2020 strategy and assess its imapact on environmental protection
- Discuss approaches to work with the business sector ensure they comply with biodiversity regulation
- Assess the 2017-2019 Agriculture Bill to establish how it will help protect land and water supplies
- Explore how water companies can better monitor and identify environmental pollutants
- Consider the implications of the National Water Quality Framework and its impact on both society and the environment
- Debate approaches to ensure successful collaberation between different authorities and stakeholders
- Learn the repercussions for humans and the natural world if we fail to sufficiently protect our biodiversity
- Improve their awareness of the impact biodiversity and water management has on health and well-being