This is an important report that reminds us that we should never become complacent about protecting our natural environment - there is still work to be done in arresting the decline in many important species.
Agriculture plays a crucial role in rising to this challenge; farming by its very nature will always have an impact on our natural environment. Nevertheless, we should also not lose sight of the fact that we have made great progress in recent decades in moving towards a more sustainable system of agricultural production.
While it's right to highlight areas of concern, it's also important to recognise that many species are now thriving, and we must not discourage farmers and growers from keeping up the good work they do. In crop protection for instance, pesticide usage has been declining since 1990, despite a larger area being treated each year. The use of registered pesticides on arable crops halved from 28000 tonnes in 1990 to 14000 tonnes in 2010*, and currently less than 1% of surface water bodies fail to reach good status due to pesticide contamination.
Farmers operate in ever more biodiversity-friendly ways, using more targeted, lower-impact chemicals for instance, and through various stewardship schemes such as the Voluntary Initiative, which ensures pesticides are applied by highly trained operators, who understand how to minimise the impact of pesticides, while efficiently tackling crop pests and diseases to ensure a safe and affordable supply of food.
*Pesticides usage survey arable crops in the UK FERA 2010