What’s up at Natural England?

This blog has learned that the new Chair of Natural England, Andrew Sells, has been taking a strong line on the consultation over the General Licence. He doesn’t seem terribly keen on the consultation at all – or is it the views of the public in response to the consultation that he dislikes?  Or is it Owen Paterson who is putting the pressure on NE through their Chair?

The ‘shoo before you shoot’ issue is being questioned hard, as is anything to do with regulating the use of traps, we hear.   At the moment the NE Board seem keen(-ish) to stand up to this pressure but there will be a change in personnel in September.

Also on Andrew Sells’s agenda is the appointment of a Chief Executive for Natural England. We hear that there are two, slightly wet, candidates in the running. One is quite salty wet with an interest in sailing, mountain biking and hiking whereas the other is a fresher wet fellow who once had a boss with a keen interest in caravans. Both are likely to be fairly shooting-friendly.

So we have a shooting Prime Minister who wanted to appoint a Secretary of State with fieldsports credentials but the confused wishes of the electorate intervened and he had to find a home in the cabinet for Caroline Spelman, but when she had to go then the pro-shooting Owen Paterson was brought in, who appointed a kindred spirit on biodiversity off-setting and other matters Andrew Sells, who is now looking for another kindred spirit. That’s how it works – under all governments to some extent – who says politics doesn’t make any difference?


9 Replies to “What’s up at Natural England?”

  1. which is why real conservationists ( as opposed to field sports enthusiasts) of whatever general political persuasion should never vote Tory.

    1. ” as opposed to ” nice bit of negative simplistic binary divisive politics #whichsideareyouon

  2. Mark, please see my comment of May 21st. regarding the CEO of NE. Perhaps I should have included a friend of someone? Please insert the odds as you see them.

  3. I suppose Cameron and Paterson think that NE is “‘green crap’ – get rid of it”. In all my delings with NE, I have detected a ‘presumption in favour of development’ and fear of losing jobs.

    1. Sadly, science in the organisation (NE) appears to have been retired, made redundant or is now paid for by developers. Good staff have been replaced by access, pro-development ex CC or RDA so yes experience here has observed and indeed seen documentation which promotes a working relationship with developers (see also the NE website as well particularly the Discretionary Advice Service via http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/planningdevelopment/das/default.aspx).

      Gardening seems to be replacing conservation and understandably (?) the larger NGOs are signed up and paid members of this corporate greenwash.

      “Devoid of imagination and initiative”, sadly such laudable ambitions require funds and the CAP welfare payments now appear directed to agri-industrial scale pea and bean fields not environmental initiatives or real long term nature conservation. The State of Nature report too seems to be gathering dust, sad after such effort.

      Perhaps it’s time to use imagination and initiative to come up with a better option than NE? Or do we fight to see them strengthened? Remember 1998 when the NGOs through submission to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee secured English Nature extra funding?

      1. The biggest failure of NE is a total failure, largely through having been pared to the bone, to develop a pro-active approach to conservation, either at a strategic or tactical level.

  4. But why is there no alternative on the table ? There is only so far you can go objecting: the conservation NGOs really do need to counterattack, not with complaints and pointing out the obvious – that this Government thinks it can have it all its own way, but with real alternatives – which could well be market driven. Why on earth could the NT not see that its planning campaign should automatically have rolled over into this, one of England’s top 3 landowners, demonstrating the right way to do things, using some of its own land resource ? We seem to live in an era devoid of imagination and initiative: surely we can do better than this and show up the Government’s bankcrupt approach by doing it better ?

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