Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Red Tape Challenge - A Dire Threat to Our Environment!

Our very wonderful Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, has decided that ‘too much Red Tape’ is bad for business. In other words Big Business, which can already do pretty well much as it likes, doesn’t want any restraints on its activities whatsoever. Mr Cameron has eagerly launched a ‘crusade’ to help them as much as he can. As you will see below the nasty, troublesome old Red Tape, which is up for review, includes some of our most important wildlife and environmental legislation. If Mr Cameron gets his way he will be able to stand there smiling his best posh PR Executive’s smile while his chums in Big Business strip mine the country and cover it with concrete! What follows was brought to my attention by FoCM’s moth expert, Ben Smart.

The message below is from Dr Martin Warren, CEO of Butterfly Conservation:

“A very worrying consultation has recently been announced by Government which is considering the scrapping of various environmental laws. I am emailing Branch committee members to ask you to express your opposition to this proposal which could do immeasurable damage to wildlife, including butterflies and moths. Please circulate this email to anyone else who might feel the same.”

Further information

“The Government has recently launched a consultation on the proposed scrapping of a whole range of regulations, known as the "Red Tape Challenge". This was launched by Vince Cable on 7 April 2011 in a bid to boost short-term economic growth. Amazingly this includes most of the wildlife legislation that we and our partners have worked so hard to get on the statute books in recent years.

In short, it seems Government is considering getting rid of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the Climate Change Act, and 278 environment laws (among thousands of laws and regulations). These Acts are essential for protecting key wildlife sites and species from development and have been developed after long campaigns by wildlife NGOs. Scrapping them would results in immeasurable damage to species and habitats, including butterflies and moths.

Environmental regulations fall under "general regulations" on which the Government are inviting comments throughout the process. The Cabinet Office is 'crowdsourcing' proposals for which laws should be scrapped, with Ministers facing a basic presumption that laws and regulations listed in the Red Tape Challenge should be scrapped. Once the nation has had its say, Ministers will have three months to work out which regulations they want to keep and why.

The Government's website invites comments either as an individual or as an organisation, about the need to protect our environment. The website lists the 278 environmental regulations under scrutiny and your comments can be left under 7 broad headings.

My own contribution reads:

The Government has only just signed the new UN target set at Nagoya to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems by 2020. It simply cannot honour this commitment if it scraps its own wildlife laws. Biodiversity is essential to life on earth and needs protection."

The RSPB is also on the case and you can read more here (you'll have to cut and paste this address into your browser because I can't get the active link to work at the moment - sorry!).:


The RSPB website includes an opportunity to send your views to Vince Cable (please try to be polite!).

Dave Bishop, April 2011

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