The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has released statistics showing that the specialist butterfly population has fallen by 74% since 1976.
This statistic is part of the long-term and ongoing decline in butterfly populations across the United Kingdom with destruction and deterioration of habitats being cited by many as the prime cause.
Butterflies are increasingly being utilised as environmental indicators because of their rapid and sensitive responses to subtle habitat or climatic changes.
The EU’s Habitats Directive promotes the conservation of natural habitats and establishes the EU wide Natura 2000 ecological network of protected areas which are safeguarded against potentially damaging developments.
Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East said:
“This horrific statistic is just about the larger flying insects we notice. What may be happening to others that may be as important to our ecosystem is also extremely worrying.
“We have to keep working with our EU partners to defend our shared natural environment.
“MEPs will not sign off the Brexit deal if it weakens UK environmental protection.”