In my speech I outlined the edited highlights (or lowlights depending on how you view it) of the report:

– Out of 8000 UK species assessed, 15 per cent of those are extinct or threatened with extinction

– We are almost at the bottom of a table of 218 countries ranked for biodiversity – 189th

– Butterflies have declined by two per cent

– Farmland birds have declined by 10 per cent

– There are just three per cent of wildflower meadows left in the country since the 1920s

The reasons for decline are largely habitat loss, climate change and intensive farming methods.

I said that the good news was that my work with highways and the environment team on wildflower verges was coming to fruition and I hoped that the policies for both working on highways verges and for sowing wildflower seeds on highways verges would be ready in the new year.

I thanked officers Sarah Jennings and Tom Vaughan for their hard work on this.

The vote in favour of reviewing the policy to look at new areas was approved unanimously.

The item (13) and my speech can be viewed here – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/244711