What is the UK government up to in the EU?

Rory Stewart: undermining nature protection in the EU?
Rory Stewart

I was in Cley last night so I didn’t see the Channel 4 news. This interesting piece (wildlife protection to be watered down?), with Stanley Johnson (sire of Boris etc, and author of the Habitats Directive (see p88 of Fighting for Birds)), is worrying.

It may be simply a language thing, although the Dutch are rather better at English than we are at Dutch (and than many of us are at English), but the Dutch MEP does say that Defra minister, Rory Stewart, told him that we, the UK, that’s you and me, were asking for a review of the Birds Directive and Habitat Directive. Really? Why? Not in my name…

Wouldn’t it be odd if the UK government were lobbying for change when the UK public provided a huge number of responses to the EU saying that the directives were generally working rather well?  That would be odd – oddly undemocratic considering there was no mention of this in the Conservative election manifesto.

I’ll be writing to my MP asking him to ask Defra to clarify the UK position, and for him to clarify the Conservative Party position, and for him to tell me his own position on the matter. You could do the same.


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12 Replies to “What is the UK government up to in the EU?”

  1. Martin Harper was also interviewed on this piece and blogged on it earlier today (see here http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/martinharper/archive/2015/10/22/a-day-on-the-banks-of-the-thames.aspx )

    This attack on the environment by the Government is extremely worrying. It was good to hear the Dutch MEP express his concern. The more letters to our MPs that can be sent the better.

  2. The politicians have a duty to consult, or at least in theory but where is the 'take account' of what the public then say?

    Ooops, democracy - it's all relative I suppose, but not from where I am standing, establishment imposition might be a better description?

    Ministers, MPs & MEPs need to hear the reality from conservationists of all persuasion, collectively a critical mass of lobbying?

  3. We really do need to start getting our voices heard on a larger scale. Whether it's birds of prey, badgers, foxes, bees etc etc, the attacks are all coming from a similar direction. When do we say 'enough is enough' and how do we bring all the individual groups together to fight all of this? Not saying I've got any answers, just thinking out loud due to extreme anger and frustration.

    1. I totally agree, Saffy.

      My (Labour) MP is favourable to animal/environmental issues, but I have written to her as Mark suggested, asking her to look into this potential danger - and shall ask my contacts to do the same with their MPs.

  4. 1 million RSPB members need to be engaged / asked for their opinions on these important issues, particularly action on Raptor/wildlife persecution in the Grouse lands. The RSPB needs to action membership support to stand up for nature. Natures voice seems to have lost its voice, it has a moral responsibility to engage its membership on specific action to save the Hen Harrier in the Grouse lands, no publicity for Mark Avery petition does bird protection a dis-service. I like many will no doubt have to consider my membership at a leadership that shows no teeth, in response to the evidence presented #justiceforannie .

    1. Mark, it's not just me then. At least two more of your readers think that the RSPB should be showing a bit more support and leadership on these issues. Andy today and Rod Foster 3 days ago.
      I do understand your position, but really, there must be some sore places at Sandy with so much fence sitting!

  5. In just about every Habitats or Birds directive case that has gone to the Eu Court, the UK government has had a QC in the court, trying to undermine the directives. So this is nothing new.

  6. Why do you expect the government to be upfront. Deals always have been and will be done behind closed doors. There are a bunch of fat, greedy, old men mainly who want to carve up a pie and if you risk spoiling their party then why expect to be invited. Luckily there are some quite astute people in the world who know this, probably like our Dutch MEP who are willing to give the heads up. Environmentalist should beware and prepared for what is coming, probably a series of capital projects on SSSI's.

  7. Democracy counts for rather little with the natural party of Government, especially when it means taking account of the views of uppity proles. As long as they can be scared into putting an x in the right box every 5 years they can disappear for the bits in between.

    I could probably write as many letters to my old school Tory MP as I like but I would have no confidence that it would change his antediluvian views on absolutely anything.

  8. I most certainly did NOT ask the UK government to call for a review of the Nature Directives on my behalf! Alongside over half a million others I asked EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to #DefendNature Directives for me and keep them strong!
    Here in the Thames estuary on the North Kent Marshes we are acutely aware of the massive environmental and ecological damage that would be caused by any weakening of these laws. My message to Liz Truss and her colleagues at DEFRA and in the cabinet (which includes Boris Johnson) is #NotInMyName


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