EU Directives needed to keep natural benefits
UKIP Lisburn representative, Alan Love, suggests that "crippling fines from (the) EU would be scandalous" due to "unnecessary" directives regarding the protection and conservation of our Natural Heritage (Writeback, Jan 8).
However, he fails to outline what Ukip would do to halt the dramatic free-fall of biodiversity? Or its policy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? At the last assessment, barely over half (52%) of protected species in Northern Ireland were in favourable condition; coincidentally exactly the same percentage as the number of 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, that have declined globally since 1970. Only one of 49 Northern Irish designated habitats is in good quality but the natural world still delivers vast numbers of ecosystem services from which we directly benefit.
A fifth of the world's oxygen comes from forests (Ireland is the most deforested country in Europe), 30% of the world's crops (including Armagh's £50m-per-year apple industry) require pollination by bees (half of Ireland's bee species have declined since the 1950s) while changes in sea surface temperatures have caused shifts in the distribution of fish leading to declines in seabird colonies (including those at Rathlin Island).
If ecosystems collapse, particularly in the Arctic, we will not be imperious.
Nigel Farage clearly believes renewable wind energy to be "loopy" while Ukip's official energy policy document states that wind turbines fail to reduce CO2 emissions.
We need EU Directives and a Climate Change Act. Any economic fallout would be compensated for if the Government taxed multinational corporations and the super-rich and redistributed wealth away from entirely notional financial markets towards issues that will affect us all.
DR NEIL REID
Lecturer in Conservation Biology,
Queen's University Belfast