I hope you are well.
I’ll be coming to parliament a week today on a rally organised by the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the League Against Cruel Sports, and supported by some other countryside organisations too. If you are around and could spare a few moments to talk then I’d be very grateful.
But I know you are busy so I thought I’d put some thoughts down here.
What we are calling for is basically that the next government, and I do hope it is a Labour government with you as a minister in it, should do a good job for wildlife in England. We are calling on the next government to:
- bring in a Nature and Wellbeing Act
- stop wildlife crime which affects protected and threatened species like the Hen Harrier
- ensure that the protection given to our wildlife through the EU Nature Directives is neither watered down nor lost completely
The outgoing (I hope) coalition government has been inactive and inept on wildlife conservation and so there is plenty of catching up to be done.
You know you can count on my vote next May but if you have glanced at my blog recently you will have seen that there seems to be a growing dissatisfaction with Labour from wildlife enthusiasts and environmentalists like myself. I can understand that frustration and I share it myself. See these two blogs but also the comments attached to them (here and here).
But Labour has a great opportunity to win back the enthusiasm of some faltering supporters by ensuring that the election manifesto contains measures such as these:
- promise to put in a complete network of marine protected areas – Labour started this off with the Marine Act, the ConDems have completely failed to make progress, and it’s a job that needs to be finished off
- ban lead ammunition following the Quito agreement a couple of weeks ago (supported by the UK as part of the EU delegation) – and this is also unfinished business for Labour as Michael Meacher brought in the initial ban of lead ammunition for wildfowl in England
- ban driven grouse shooting – we now know that grouse moor management puts up the water bills of the many, and increases the insurance bills of the many, and worsens the climate for all, and deprives the many of the chance to see ‘protected’ wildlife and all for the profit of the few. Come on – whose side are you on?
- introduce vicarious liability for wildlife crime – it takes the pressure off the working class gamekeeper and distributes some of that pressure to the rich and powerful so they cannot avoid the consequences of crime on their land and on their behalf
- commit to reducing bovine tb in cattle by all means necessary, even killing badgers if necessary, but with the emphasis on improvements in biosecurity and through vaccination of cattle and badgers
- ensure value for money for the taxes of all when agri-environment funds are spent on rewarding the few – why does Labour always bend to the will of the NFU’s self-interest?
Maybe we’ll get the chance for a quick chat next week but I’d be very grateful if you could promote my general concerns to those most closely concerned with the section on the environment in the Party’s election manifesto. I shall be reviewing all the political parties’ election manifestos on my blog. I hope I will have plenty of good things to say about the Labour manifesto.