Defra – what are you for these days? You seem to lack energy (and direction and even any ideas).
The performance of Defra has been woeful under the coalition government.
Apart from the introduction of a small amount of money for Nature Improvement Areas (of which we have heard very little since) what has Defra done?
- Killed a few badgers?
- Failed to change the shape of forestry.
- Introduced hardly any marine conservation zones.
- Maintained the status quo over raptor protection by refusing to introduce vicarious liability for wildlife crime or licensing of game estates.
- Opposed regulation of neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Tinkered with a rotten system of public payments to farmers.
- Removed independent environmental watchdogs such as the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and the Sustainable Development Commission
- Muzzled and neutered Natural England
- Introduced no legislation to help the environment
- Shown no leadership and precious little interest in the natural world which continues to decline on their watch
What is Defra for?
The three Secretaries of State have been the good, the bad and the silent – Spelman, Paterson and Truss. Spelman tried hard in very difficult times and achieved real progress in the Nagoya biodiversity meeting. Paterson was a bad joke and showed his contempt for the environment movement, and presumably its millions of supporters, as soon as he left office. And Truss has been, following Paterson, a big relief since she has been picking up a cabinet minister’s salary for seemingly being invisible and inactive. This was not their finest hour, nor was it an acceptable level of public service.