Other blogs (14)

In this occasional series (and I haven’t written one for months) of links to other interesting blog posts, here are some blogs that have caught my eye recently.

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3 Replies to “Other blogs (14)”

  1. The summary data Jason Endfield has obtained are an eye opener, even accounting for NE’s atempts at obfuscation. While we might expect licences to be issued periodically for reasons of air safety and such, there appear to be an extraordinary number (close to 700 in 2018) issued on nebulous ‘protection of public health’ and ‘protection of livestock/crops/foodstuffs’ grounds. These include licences to protect us from the deprivations of swallows, wrens, pied wagtails and blue tits. Phew – I will sleep easy tonight. The length of the list of species targeted for licenced activity is quite startling, given that it includes a significant number which are in decline and/or for which we have international conservation responsibilities. One might not be surprised to see feral greylag and Canada geese up there, but Brent goose, pink footed goose, wigeon and goosander? Are the reasons for targeting such species really overriding and have other options really been exhausted? We don’t know because NE withold the justifications. And the sheer magnitude of the vendetta against cormorants is quite staggering. 429 licences issued to (presumably) cull adults or destroy active nests. I wonder how many birds that translates to?

  2. Re transparency.

    Openness and Accountability are two of Nolan’s 7 Principles of Public Life to which all public bodies are expected to adhere.

    However, both principles are excluded from the Code of Conduct for Natural England board members.

    When Tony Juniper (chair) and Marian Spain (interim chief executive) took over the reins, I twice wrote, asking them to consider updating the Code in the interests of transparency.

    TJ did not respond to either emails, but I did receive a letter from NE’s legal supremo who maintained that the organisation already fulfilled its responsibilities by . . . “delivering transparencies”.

    I was mystified by what “delivering transparencies” meant, but all became clear when I then received an email from Marian Spain in which she said: “I hope you enjoy reading our press releases.”

    Strange how the meaning of transparency is interpreted by some in senior positions.

    If Natural England’s leadership is not committed to openness and transparency, what example is there for the rest of the organisation?

    No wonder Mark, Jason Dominic and others are not best impressed.

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