Michael Gove visited Rainham Marshes on Thursday and had a chat with the RSPB. That looks good and is good.
He set the RSPB a little bit of homework which was ‘If we want the UK’s approach to environmental protection and enhancement to be seen as the best in the world, what does that mean and what does it look like at a local, national and global level?‘. That’s a good question and one to which Defra must already have an answer drafted, as it is sitting on its 25-year plan for Nature.
The RSPB’s answer to this exam question fails to mention the need to maintain, or, even better, enhance (as promised by other political parties) the environmental protection given to wildlife by existing EU legislation such as the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive. It’s going to be difficult for the UK to lead the world if it starts dismantling the existing levels of protection for species and habitats. It hardly needs to be said, but actually it does need to be said.
So here is an offer to any conservation or rural organisations. What is your answer to Mr Gove’s question?
I’d love to hear the Wildlife Trust’s answer, and the NFU’s answer, and Plantlife’s answer, and the Countryside Alliance’s answer and the CLA’s answer – just for starters. I really would.
All serious responses will be published here.
And I’ll give you some of my ideas tomorrow morning.