What will Glover review make of our environmental glories?

Our uplands are one of our environmental glories

Michael Gove, Hansard 28 March

In contrast, RSPB Chair, Kevin Cox, said

National parks are not delivering for wildlife and are often in worse condition than areas outside the park .

They aren’t being monitored, lack funding and have no clear purpose.

Farming – plus grouse shooting and tourism – are doing so much damage

Sunday Times 24 March

Julian Glover, who leads the review of AONBs and National Parks (most of which are in the uplands) said

… we’ve done well but we can do even better.  Parks can be more beautiful, enjoyed by more people, better for biodiversity, more supportive of local people


We can’t pretend the conflicts don’t exist and parks have to deal with them every day but that doesn’t mean we can’t deal with them.
A farming policy that puts parks and AONBs first, funds farming but does it to make the landscape and environment better not worse would be a good start

Campaign for National Parks event, October 2018

Julian Glover leads a team reviewing the future of AONBs and National Parks for Defra.

Julian Glover – see here.

Ewan Cameron – farmer, former Chair of Countryside Agency and former president of the Country Land and Business Association.

Jim Dixon – ex-RSPB, ex-Natural England, ex-Defra, former Chief Exec of Peak District National Park wildlife crime hotspot.

Sarah Mukherjee – ex-BBC Environment Correspondent, now Chief Exec of pesticides lobby.

Fiona Reynolds – former Chief Exec of CPRE, former Director General of National Trust, now Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge.

Jake Fiennes – former gamekeeper, now estate manager at Holkham Estate.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with – presumably they have six different drafts on the go depending on what happens with Brexit. This is hardly the thrusting bunch of nature conservationists one might hope for, although all deserve their place on a panel like this. My point is that if you are looking for the spokesperson for the natural world in this panel then they are hard to find – all have nature conservation as a secondary rather than primary interest. And why are they listed in alphabetical order of surname except the ‘keeper is at the bottom of the ladder?

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8 Replies to “What will Glover review make of our environmental glories?”

  1. I'm puzzled by why you drew such attention to the fact that Jake Fiennes was a former gamekeeper and was listed last on the list of panel members in the review , unless you are suspicious of anyone who used to be a 'keeper, just as I would be.
    I'm concerned that representation of persons likely to wish to see national parks and AONBs who might wish to see these areas delivering for biodiversity, an enhanced environment or wildlife is extremely poor, so I won't be expecting any recommendation which bring these areas up to proper 21st century standards.

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    1. Alex - well there are two separate points. First, how many other former gamekeepers can you name who have been on similar panels? Second, as I looked down the list on the Defra website I noticed that the five names were in alphabetical order until you come to Jake. There is a 1 in 120 chance of this ordering (I think).

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      1. Thanks for also highlighting the front that is named The Plant Protection Agency.
        Their spin makes Gilruth look like a novice.
        I despair at a panel like this. The status quo advises on the status quo.

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  2. Whatever a relatively very very few people feel the actual fact of the numbers of people attracted to visit National Parks each year means the vast majority of the population probably almost everyone except a few perfectionists are happy with the present situation.
    Most of course have no idea of illegal activity and I am not sure they would bother anyway.
    Most have what they see as more pressing problems and visit the National Parks to get away from everyday problems and relax.

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  3. What one would really want is people here with nature and landscape conservation first not as an add on. As it is it does not fill me with confidence at all, in fact quite the reverse.

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  4. Yet again, as with so many of these reviews, there'll be little shift from the status quo. There'll be lots about public transport - absolutely no challenge to the fact that landscape and nature conservation run on parallel streams which never meet. How will they cope with the anomaly of the New Forest, I wonder ? Unlike the other parks, largely nationally owned and with a massive habitat restoration programme heading for its third decade. Or with the interesting fact that Kielder Forest, excluded from the Northumberland National Park because it is horrible, horrible forest and not well keepered grouse moor for two years hosted England's only successful Hen harrier pairs. Or the issues raised by rewilding at Wild Ennerdale. Issues that will no doubt be ducked and dogdged rather than tackled.

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    1. Kielder also has a number of Osprey pairs, unpersecuted Goshawks, Red Squirrels and occasional visiting Golden Eagle.

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  5. Live in hope but such a dull bunch! Sure they are all nice people but the challenge to transform these places into something so much better deserves real challenge. A big new mission and a real roadmap for change.

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