NE news

I hear that staff morale under the new interim Natural England CEO, Marian Spain, is rising. That’s good to hear.

It might rise a little more if the report in Saturday’s The Times, that Tony Juniper might be NE’s new Chair, is true. It’s a difficult job but Tony might well be the person to do it.

This blog by the outgoing Chair of NE, Andrew Sells, is quite interesting even if totally unconvincing in its claims for NE’s successes in recent years. Yes, NE licensed Beaver releases but also Badger culls. Yes, NE used to have a half-decent scientific reputation but where is it now? It is more interesting in its views on the need for a strong, independent Office for Environmental Protection when/if we leave the EU – which might be as soon as 60 days’ time. I’m not sure that the environment is no longer a political footnote – after all, how has it figured in the years of argument over Brexit? – but I am sure that NE had very little to do with this and it was the somewhat fortuitous arrival of Michael Gove at Defra which has raised the status of the environment from complete invisibility to that of a deflated and punctured political football that nobody even bothers to kick around anymore. The fact that is seen as progress says it all really.


3 Replies to “NE news”

  1. Let’s hope the Times is right on it’s report that Tony Juniper is lined up as the next Chairman of NE. Mind you the other question is, whether he would accept the post. If I were him I would wish to be assured by this Government of a great many things before I agreed to take on the post. These assurances would include, vastly better independence of politicians such that NE became no longer a puppet of this Government as has been the case under Mr. Sells. NE should also be granted full and strong powers to maintain and enforce the EU environmental directives, in particular the Birds and Habitats Directibves (totally unmodified) albeit they may be under a different name. The proper enforcement of the law in respect to birds of prey and as a very minimum the licensing and or banning of driven grouse shooting There are also many other assurances I would need before contemplating the post.
    I am sorry to say that I doubt very much whether this Government with all its vested interests could or would give these assurances.

  2. This would require the Draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill to be vastly different to it’s present draft. In reality, it should be thrown away and replaced with a bill more representative of that envisaged under the Peoples manifesto for wildlife. Remember that?
    I believe that this government has every intention of ensuring that environmental legislation is the absolute minimum that can be provided, with little or no teeth by way of enforcement.
    In that case, it hardly matters who is head of NE.
    NE will have virtually no powers of enforcement.
    Wildlife and Countryside Link should be screaming it’s collective head off!
    Individual members should be doing the same.
    I haven’t noticed. Have you?

  3. Anyone remember the critique of EN in “Muzzled Watchdog” 1997, then I reckon they became a ‘toothless terrier’ and more recently a ‘lapdog’.

    Setting aside the NNR portfolio, sad though it is I think the organisation has become a liability and it would be a kindness to have it humanely put to rest.

    Yes, that would leave a hole but would that be worse than the present state of affairs? Badger culls extended, licensing of culls of a reported 40 species of birds including Ravens, Marsh Harriers and even Curlews and Skylarks ( I still think I must have been dreaming the last two). Failure to tackle muirburn on upland peat moors etc. etc. “other case studies available” ….


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