More than 40 of the UK’s most respected conservation organisations, with a combined membership of almost four million, have come together this morning (28th September 2023) to protest at the Government’s failure to address the deepening crisis in nature, laid bare in the devastating State of Nature Report.

Scientists, ecologists and wildlife experts are among hundreds of people united in protest outside DEFRA offices in London, Bristol, Reading, Newcastle and York.

The newly-formed ‘Restore Nature Now’ movement states: “We are birdwatchers, ramblers, ecologists, pond dippers, river-swimmers, ramblers, no-mow-mayers, anglers, scientists, butterfly counters, spring-watchers, gardeners, rewilders, conservationists. We are ordinary people taking action in extraordinary times”. 

TV broadcaster and ARC patron Chris Packham is leading the direct call to the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to take urgent measures to restore the UK’s nature.

Scientists in white lab coats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those holding banners, placards and flags with the familiar logos of newts, badgers, birds and pandas.


Chris Packham said: 

This is beyond an ‘Attack on Nature’ in the UK. Our wildlife is being annihilated. Our wild places and wildlife are not ‘dying’- they are being killed. Those responsible for killing nature are getting away with it. Those responsible for protecting nature are failing. We are taking our demand ‘Restore Nature Now’ direct to the government department decision-makers responsible for failing nature in this country.


Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: 

The State of Nature report is a stark reminder that politicians must not let nature drop down the agenda – there is far too much at stake. We desperately need better policies that fund nature-friendly farming properly, end the poisoning of lakes and rivers, and create larger wild and more natural areas – including in towns and cities.

This next parliament will be the most important in my lifetime for nature and climate action. The clock is ticking towards the 2030 deadline by which point the UK Government has committed to protect at least 30% of land and sea for nature and to halve the risks posed by pesticides. Nature recovery is fundamental to tackling climate change and improving people’s lives – history will not be kind to politicians that ignore this truth.

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said:

The figures show loud and clear that nature is in dire trouble and the situation is getting worse. Political platitudes won't save the planet. We're challenging every politician professing to be pro-nature to back the Nature 2030 proposals: a budget-boost for wildlife-friendly farming, a legal right to a healthy environment, and a Public Nature Estate to restore habitats and species. It's time the next Parliament was a nature parliament.


Anju Sarpal, Communications Manager at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, said: 

This year’s State of Nature report highlights the crucial role our 13 native amphibian and reptile species play as valuable barometers for the health of the ecosystems they inhabit, due to their sensitivity to the environment. These remarkable creatures are not just indicators; they are integral components of our natural spaces. As their populations dwindle, so too do the habitats they call home, signalling an ecosystem in distress.

Professor Jeff Waage OBE, an ecologist and former member of Defra’s Science Advisory Committee, said:

From this week’s State of Nature Report emerges the message that key UK commitments to biodiversity conservation will be missed, new initiatives are being delayed or watered down, and even our capacity to measure progress has been damaged by cuts. Despite its rhetoric, this is a Government that lacks both a sense of urgency and a sincere commitment to the restoration of nature.

Sophie Renner, a member of RSPB who had travelled by train from Glasgow to join the protest in London, commented:

The UK’s nature is in an appalling state- reports on the decline of nature mean nothing if we don’t act on them. I’ve been writing to my MP and signing petitions for years- this is where we need to be now to get our voices heard.