Thursday 3rd May 2012
Residents "can't afford" to take the environment for granted as a report highlights the unsustainable impact of their lifestyles on a county.
The State Of The Environment Report For Wiltshire And Swindon shows that changes in the county are threatening rivers, plants, and wildlife.
The report, published by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) in partnership with Wiltshire Council, compares figures and facts for the county with the wider South West region and the rest of the UK.
It found that, although 44% of Wiltshire and Swindon is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with 14% recognised as a site of special scientific interest or a local wildlife site including Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain, the environment is under threat.
Dr Gary Mantle, WWT director, said: "When we're surrounded by such beautiful countryside, it's easy to think that all is well. Yet each of us depends on the environment and has an impact upon it. The long-term trends highlighted in this report show that we can't afford to take anything for granted."
The report, commissioned by NHS Wiltshire as part of the Joint Strategic Assessment, looked at issues such as the number of new homes being built, carbon emissions, air quality and biodiversity.
It found that in Wiltshire and Swindon in 2009 carbon emissions were 18% higher per person than the English average.
Figures showed 70% of rivers were over-abstracted, where too much water is removed and none is available, or over-licensed, causing an unacceptable environmental impact when rivers are low.
It also showed that 278 wild plant and animal species in Wiltshire are in need of conservation action.
The report will be launched at the trust's Langford Lakes nature reserve on May 4.