By Liz Thomas
Save the planet by having fewer babies, says BBC presenter as he calls for tax breaks for small families
BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has warned the only way to protect the future of the planet is to curb population growth.
The Springwatch presenter suggested offering Britons tax breaks to encourage them to have smaller families.
He effectively endorsed China’s controversial one-child policy, which sees couples who adhere to the rule given a lump sum on retirement.
But he stopped short of suggesting people should be penalised for having too many children.
Packham, 49, who has no children of his own, told Radio Times: ‘By 2020, there are going to be 70million people in Britain. Let’s face it, that’s too many.’
He added: ‘There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other – namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population.’
Packham suggested offering couples a financial incentive as ‘a carrot’ to persuade them to have fewer – or no – children.
He said: ‘I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.
‘Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.’
Experts have predicted that the British population – which is currently around 62million – will increase to 70million by 2029.
A report by the sustainable development group Forum For The Future said Britain would struggle to handle such growth. The increase in population would be ‘catastrophic’ and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources.