- it seemed like spring for a few days last week and two sand martins were seen on Saturday in the Nene Valley, but on Sunday morning I awoke to find a layer of snow on my car.
- this is an interesting study which tells you that what you are doing with your fat balls may be having less impact than you think …
- in Saturday’s Times, apparently Simon Barnes referred to this very blog as ‘one of the more lucid conservation blogs’ (one of? one of?) whilst mentioning the e-petition on licensing grouse moors (which has now passed 3000 signatures)
- in the latest issue of British Birds, Fighting for Birds is listed as the 5th best bird book of 2012 – buy yours here!
- a couple of questions and answers from last Thursday’s questions in Parliament:
Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): Do Ministers consider it acceptable that a number of historic English churches are being made unusable as a consequence of bat faeces and that mediaeval wall paintings and other historic monuments are being irretrievably damaged as a consequence of bat urine? Churches are not farm barns. They are places of worship and should be respected as such.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Richard Benyon): I entirely agree with my hon. Friend and share his intense frustration. I am glad to say that we are moving forward with one church in Yorkshire, where we think we may have found a resolution, and some churches in Norfolk. It cannot have ever been the intention of those who imposed this directive on us to limit the ability of people to worship in a church that has been there for centuries.
Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green): Last week the Secretary of State said that he was keen to delay European Union proposals to protect essential pollinators from neonicotinoids until new British field data were available. At the very same time, his own chief scientist was telling members of the Environmental Audit Committee that those same trials had been deeply compromised. When will the Secretary of State stop prevaricating and implement a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids without further delay?
Mr Paterson: I am grateful to the hon. Lady for making the position clear. There have been a number of reports based on laboratory data. I have raised the issue with Minister Coveney, who has the presidency of the European Union, and had a meeting with Commissioner Borg about it only last week. We have asked them to wait until the data from our field trials have been analysed. We are fully aware of the strength of feeling that the hon. Lady represents, but there are also people who believe that these materials are not damaging. What is absolutely critical is that we do the right thing for bees, because they play such a fundamental role. There is no point in removing one product if it does not actually hurt bees. What we really need to do is look at how we can promote bee health, because it is so important to all plant life.
- did you see Prince Charles on Countryfile last night? What did you think?
- “We are a bit like cockroaches after a nuclear war, just a bit less smelly, we are made of sterner stuff.” may be the most sensible thing that a LibDem has said about nature for a while. Vote Cockroach! may be the LibDem cry at the next general election.
- I saw my first garden siskin of the winter yesterday
- please add your name here to those of other Europeans worried about farmland biodiversity
- I enjoyed listening to George McGavin and Max Barclay as I drove home on Saturday morning – etymology and entomology
- for the rest of this week I will be at Cheltenham racecourse – blogging opportunities may be reduced through lack of internet connection, levels of champagne consumption and the need to study form. However, the environment will take a rest, a back seat, and a breather whilst I lose myself in the total irrelevance of which horse can run around in circles faster than the others. If you find a blog here from Tuesday-Friday its subject will be National Hunt racing.
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