The results of this year's Bugs Matter Citizen Science Survey, led by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife, have been revealed and show a 64% decline in insect numbers sampled on vehicle number plates between 2004 and 2022 across the UK.

Worryingly, this is a five percent greater decline than observed between 2004 and 2021, although it is not clear what proportion of this further decline is due to the long-term trend or the result of record summer temperatures.

This news comes as world leaders meet to discuss the global declines in biodiversity at the COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity, and is yet more evidence of the need for urgent action to reverse the declines in our biodiversity.

Earlier this year the results of Butterfly Conservation's own citizen science project, The Big Butterfly Count, revealed that the average number of butterflies spotted per count in 2022 was just under nine - an all-time low number which might be surprising given the sunny weather we were experiencing in much of the country at the time.

All this evidence points in one direction - our ecosystem is in real danger and we need action now.

We know that targeted conservation action can deliver positive outcomes. But the resources currently available are far outweighed by the size of the problem and the UK has now reached the point where we need to see a step change in effort if we are to deliver a healthy and functioning environment for future generations.

The Government legislated to brining in targets for air, water and wildlife in the Environment Act in 2021 but missed its deadline to set those targets on October 31st this year. We are now waiting for the Government to publish more information. The targets must be ambitious and there needs to be a commitment to invest in their delivery.

Russel Hobson Director of Evidence and Policy, Butterfly Conservation