Natural England ‘cut to the bone’ and unable to protect wildlife, say staff

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Report warns of ‘yawning gap’ between government rhetoric on environment and reality of years of underfunding

The government’s conservation watchdog has been “cut to the bone”, with staff underpaid, undervalued and overworked and feeling unable to protect England’s most valuable wildlife sites, according to a new report and testimony from workers.

Natural England, which is sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has a range of responsibilities, including monitoring and protecting the country’s most valuable habitats such as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and national nature reserves (NNRs). It also works with farmers to protect biodiversity and advises the government on environmental policy, planning and licensing.

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