Just a last word on EDM 603

It’s often like this – it’s difficult to know what made the difference. But it’s great that the Home Office really did come up with their share of the money for the National Wildlife Crime Unit for next year. So – take 10 months off and then we’ll no doubt be doing the same thing again!

A poorly funded NWCU, which is what we have, is far better than no NWCU, and although the existence of the NWCU does not guarantee that wildlife crime will be eliminated it is one of the bricks in the wall.  Wildlife protection is a wall of many bricks – the right laws, the right implementation, the right funding, the right people etc etc.

And so it is impossible for me to tell you that those readers of this blog who contacted their MPs and asked them to sign EDM 603, and those large numbers of MPs who responded, made all the difference to a decision made in the Home Office – but they, we, will have made some difference for sure.

Of the 139 MPs who signed EDM 603 there were 80 Labour MPs, 30 Liberal Democrats and a mere seven Conservatives (for anyone who has had the good luck to miss this – the Conservatives were the majority party after the last General Election).  It is difficult to get away from the possibility that wildlife crime is a party political issue.

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16 Replies to “Just a last word on EDM 603”

  1. Yet more evidence (not that we needed any more) that this Government is not the ‘greenest’ one ever! Statistically, the Lib Dems had the highest percentage of MPs who signed. Let’s hope they can start to make a difference, or at least make a few waves, in the next 2 years while they are still part of the coalition.

  2. Surely the ‘party of law ‘n’ order’ aren’t soft on wildlife crime and soft on the causes of wildlife crime? They’ll no doubt be keen to prove otherwise in the next two years.

    My letter from my MP about NCWU says “The Government is committed to tackling wildlife crime and fully supports law enforcement agencies”. Good to hear! Must follow up and thank him later.

  3. The party political is even more insidious, it’s a matter of vested interests. The positive outcome regarding the NWCU doesn’t hide the utterly appalling carnage metered out to one particular raptor, the hen harrier. In a previous comment I (partly) ‘defended’ the condition of our SSSIs series. I take it all back! The upland SSSI’s make up a considerable percentage by area of the series. Many of the units should support hen harrier. Where they don’t and they are a notified feature and the vegetation is recovering (so even better conditions for harriers) one needs to question why these sites are either recovering or favourable.
    So the NWCU may have survived but will it really help hen harriers and are the sites where they should be really recovering?….hmm.

  4. “A poorly funded NWCU, which is what we have, is far better than no NWCU”

    I guess – but is it? The money is drizzle in the ocean, a tiny price to pay for a warm feeling, to placate the noisy, to give the impression that something is being done. Is there enough in the kitty to cover more than the tea, biscuits and petrol?

    As for dem Lib Dems – they will probably be part of the next coalition. It’s just a matter of with whom – Milibean or Farrago.

  5. ” it’ difficult to get away from the possiblity that wildlife crime is a party political issue”, I have to agree partly with that statement Mark, however it would in my opinion be one part of wildlife crime, the persecution of raptors. Lets not forget the other parts of wildlife crime,The big “finch trapping case” that occured in Northants 2 years ago, deliberate destruction of habitats and egg collectors etc, sadly I’m begining to feel that only raptor persecution when it hits the headlines arouse the general publics concern, whilst all other wildlife crime seems to wash over the geneal publics head, even within the birding scene some seem resigned it will “always be, always has been” type of attitude, highlighted by the fact so few people signed e-petitions relating to raptor persecution, how many birders in the UK would you say there are Mark? And how many people signed the most recent e-petition? Maybe yours/mine next focus should be on getting birders to get more involved, any ideas on how Mark? I was trying to look at the problem of raptor persecution from the otheside, and imagined if I was an MP, if one person came to me on the issue, I then look at how many members of the RSPB etc there are and then glance at the current e-petition, knowing nothing or little about the issue how seriously do I take the concerns of that one individual? Do I bother seeming as so few birders seen to be bothered?

    1. Douglas – fair points. One of my ways to involve people is this blog and another is my monthly column, the political birder, in Birdwatch magazine (available from all good newsagents and by subscription).

  6. No doubt the present Government care very little about wildlife crime but think it would be much the same whichever party was in power.

    1. Dennis – maybe. The last Labour government had a patchy record on wildlife and the environment but certainly had some notable achievements; the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the Climate Change Act and the Marine Act, to name but three.

      So far, this government has nothing of remotely the same calibre, but, as you know having read Fighting for Birds, a Conservative government often starts with a better understanding of the countryside than Labour. This lot have decided to kill badgers (but not yet done it), muck about with buzzards (but retreated when the public complained), sidestepped vicarious liability (even though it is in place in Scotland) and have very little to crow about at all. They are most disappointing.

  7. Feel sure you are right about the Conservatives have amost certainly advantages of knowing about wildlife,the problem is that they use it in the wrong way.This country’s politicians of all party’s but particularly the Conservatives are all pally and same education background as the estate owners,shooters,hunters and judges.
    It is no coincidence that what was in general working mens sport of cock fighting was abolished years ago.Of course I am not saying abolishing it was wrong but these other blood sports enjoyed by those of what is said to be higher breeding are just as bad and are carried on with almost contempt for the general public’s views and very rare cases of offences against wildlife.

  8. We all sound so pleased that this unit has been saved, but as mentioned before, it really is a drop in the ocean.
    I am sure the political parties use bits like this to make us feel good….”wow we won!”
    But did we………and if so what did we win!
    Green issues of any sort are very low on any government’s agenda and I do not feel, despite this small victory, at all confident that politicians care – especially this lot in power at the moment.

  9. As you say, it is difficult to know who made the difference. If the people who make the decisions made the right decision THEY would get the CREDIT instead of the CRITICISM. Also, the right decision in the first place would save time, do you think!

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