HAMPSHIRE & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has launched a ten-year plan to create a wilder future for the two counties.

It is calling for a trebling of the 'space for wildlife'.

In a speech to more than 350 members, local partners and guests at a conference in Winchester, Debbie Tann, chief executive, said: “We all know too well that wildlife is in freefall and we are facing an emergency.

"Locally we’ve already lost so much – from the destruction of ancient woodlands, the pitiful condition of our chalk rivers, to the perilous state of endangered birds like nightingales and curlew. Even our wonderful local saltmarshes in the Solent are washing away so quickly that they could disappear within a generation. Our wildlife and precious natural resources are facing pressures from all sides.

“The very fabric of life is unravelling fast. This planet is our only home and we have been trashing it for too long. Now is the time to turn this around and put all of our collective efforts into focusing on nature’s recovery.

“To do this we will need to treble the space for nature – sewing together patches both large and small across our countryside, villages, towns and cities. We will need a radical change to the way our land and sea are used and the way we all live and work, if we are to tip the balance in the right direction.

“We know what needs to be done. Today we are setting out what we at the Wildlife Trust will do and how we can work with you – whether you’re a farmer, developer, business leader, teacher, or wildlife lover – so that we can fix this together”.

The trust, which has 26,000 members, is calling on everyone to play their part in delivering the Wilder 2030 plan which includes:

• A target of one in four people acting to support our local nature. The Trust is asking individuals and groups to step forward to create wilder streets and communities;

• An ‘army’ of champions, trained and supported by the Trust, to campaign for and create change in their local communities or workplaces;

• Pushing for local government, national parks and other public bodies and businesses to take bold steps in both policy and practice;

• Offering new services to help farmers and developers deliver for nature;

• Doubling the land that the trust manages;

• Exploring new wilder approaches, including the reintroduction of missing species like beavers.

The trust says that since 1970, 41 per cent of species have declined and one in seven are now at risk of extinction (State of Nature 2019). Locally there have been dramatic reductions in species such as water voles, nightingales and even common species like the large white butterfly. This loss is being driven by intensive agriculture, climate change, development, recreational pressures and unsustainable use of our natural resources.