UK ecosystems services under threat

9th August 2013

News3 1

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Biodiversity



Demand for water from the agricultural sector in the UK could reach double the available supply by 2020 as a result of rising temperatures and changes to rainfall patterns unless urgent action is taken now

In its latest report, the independent committee on climate change (CCC) warns that access to vital ecosystems services, including water supply, carbon sequestration and flood protection, is at risk if the value of such services continues to be ignored in land-use decisions.

The CCC concludes that without policies to incentivise more efficient abstraction, storage and irrigation, water demand from UK farms will far outstrip supply by the end of the decade.

It also warns that 75% of coastal habitats providing natural flood defences are at risk from sea-level rise and that action being taken to protect these habitats is falling far short of what is needed to meet the target of realigning 10% of the UK’s coastline by 2030.

“The rate of realignment would have to increase five fold,” confirms the report. Achieving the 10% goal will cost £10–£15 million, but the extra 60km2 of coastal habitat that would be created as a result will cut flood defence costs by £180–£380 million in the long term.

The report also warns that the majority of the UK’s peatlands are in a “degraded condition”, with dried-out areas releasing carbon into the atmosphere and no longer providing water filtration.

According to the committee, the government could triple the amount of upland peat being restored by enforcing regulation more effectively and by putting a price on the services it provides. Such restoration of peatlands would help to secure carbon stores worth billions of pounds, it says.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

In 2020, IEMA and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) jointly wrote and published A User Guide to Climate-Related Financial Disclosures. This has now been updated to include three key developments in the field.

2nd April 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to another edition of Transform. I hope that you’ve had a good and productive few months so far.

28th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close