A fairly proper reply

A fairly sensible response from Defra is now beginning to find its way back to MPs and their constituents.  Here, below is one sent me by a reader of this blog and I had a very similar letter at the weekend too.

Those of you who have written to your MPs and not taken their inadequate stock replies as being satisfactory have caused Defra to raise their game a little.  Just a little, but these things matter.

There are a few interesting things about this letter.

  • when a minister has to tell you that they are responsible for an area of policy it often means that they are a bit defensive because their boss is rather more active than they are – could that be a chip on Dr Coffey’s shoulder perhaps?
  • so we get confirmation that Michael Gove will be seeing Chris Packham when their very busy diaries allow – that is good.  I hope that Chris will be seeing the shadow SoS, Sue Hayman, as well and I know that that is being scheduled too.
  • my letter has an extra paragraph which says ‘ In many areas we share the ambition set out in the Manifesto, even if we might not support all of its recommendations’ which is very vague but is a tiny bit of commitment. We’ll be looking for those shared ambitions in the next Conservative election manifesto.
  • much of the government claim to be doing something is through the ongoing funding of agricultural or forestry grants – we don’t see government or its nature conservation agency being very active themselves, do we?
  • how many of you are going to get the ‘plating’ typo in the last paragraph I wonder?  I didn’t get that paragraph at all – but I did get one on children’s engagement with nature

Here are the different paragraphs from my response.

I wonder what other versions are in circualtion – only you can tell me. 

If you support the People’s Manifesto for Wildlife and you haven’t yet written to your MP then please do so – ask them what they are going to do to support its ideas and ask them to write to Defra for a formal response.

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  1. Lorraine Miller says:

    My MP has passed my second letter onto Mr Gove for further comment as she is unable to answer my questions! One of the questions being what are YOUR views on renewable energy!

    • Paul Fisher says:

      Very difficult one for them to answer. My MP encouraged me to read their 25 Year Environment Plan. It says that they are promoting renewables. It doesn’t comment on the fact that they have withdrawn subsidies on solar and halted onshore wind power. Neither does it say they intend to build the largest gas power station at Goole and are intent on promoting fracking.
      In the first year of 25YEP, it’s not a good start is it?
      Still, start as you mean to go on.

  2. Alex Milne says:

    I wish my MP had bothered to reply like this.
    I imagine he is possibly wondering how, when the whips get to work properly on him, how he is going to explain either abstaining or voting for the PMs Brexit, rather than vote against, as he has said.
    Looking in detail at the response, on marine protected areas in England, they at present are still "lines on a map" with little effective management, according to the manifesto. It still has a long way to go, and adding more lines on a map is not going to help. As usual, Scotland is well ahead on this, with industry workshops having taken place this year and proper management perhaps being the result there.
    The Natural England management strategy for 130,000 acres may well be familiar to readers of this blog.
    The 11 million trees in this parliament expounded in the reply shows a total lack of ambition, and may even be exceeded by those lost.

  3. nimby says:

    Seem to be a few £10m money trees around as crumbs to placate sectors? In the interim carry on regardless with austerity cuts and culls?

  4. Lesleyjane Clifford says:

    No reply yet from Richard Bacon, South Norfolk. (Apart from the automatic reply saying how much he values enquiries from his constituents and will reply to me at his earliest convenience).
    I think I’ll be waiting a long time


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