The animal, insect and bird worlds have had enough of country living and are heading in their droves to the urban jungle.

A worrying combination of climate change and over-development in the countryside means England is under threat of losing its most precious wildlife.

The richness of the countryside has declined dramatically over the past 50 years and is under increasing pressure, Natural England has claimed.

The government’s advisory body has now called for “landscape-scale” conservation to maintain ecosystems.

There have been some recent success stories, such as the flourishing Red Kite population, yet Nature England has warned that urgent action is now required and has proposed a variety of solutions including the creation of a new national park and “better use of the green belt or improved use of public funding for farmers”.

It also maintains that if we do not act quickly, “there’s a real danger some of our most precious wildlife will be lost forever and our lives will be poorer for it”.

So how does the Government’s current planning policies fit with the call from its own advisory body? I can’t help thinking the misleadingly titled “eco towns” shortlist recently drawn up by ministers represents the type of over-development that Nature England is criticising.

There seems very little “eco” in these proposals for massive new house-building programmes, despite the claims made by the Government and developers.

Little wonder that some of our wildlife is choosing city life over the urbanisation of the countryside.

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