Countryside Alliance pokes at environmental protections post-Brexit

The charming Tim Bonner was interviewed in an incredibly friendly manner on Farming Today this morning. He said he didn’t like wildlife crime, but there were reasons why people killed raptors, and that’s because raptors conflicted with people’s interests. The example he came up with was that Hen Harriers can cause declines in the numbers of Red Grouse which can be shot for fun and profit, so hardly an important part of human existence.

The friendly questioning from Caz Graham allowed Mr Bonner to say that things were a lot better than in Victorian times – apparently that is the benchmark for rural fieldsports.

Presumably Tim Bonner knows that in Victorian times it was legal to kill raptors but that ‘recently’, in 1954, the second year of the reign of our current monarch, raptor killing became illegal. Over 65 years later the members of the Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association and BASC apparently need to be reminded of these laws by having them drawn to their attention in contracts and through attendance at training days…

The RSPB was quoted as being as politely sceptical about the statement as am I.

But it was the fact that Bonner moved from raptor killing into describing his meeting with the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay where a ‘big issue’ discussed was;

…how we bring the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive and other legislation into UK law and what are the opportunities, and what are the threats, of divergence, potentially in the future, from that

Farming Today asfter 7min 30sec https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000dqjc

Well, don’t you worry Tim, the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, are in UK law right now, but I’m sure what you are keen on is cutting out some of the environmental protection given to species and habitats through those directives – protection for places like blanket bogs and species like Hen Harriers, just as examples. And that is what the Brexit campaign has been about for many of the far right – dismantling environmental protection that has evolved ‘recently’, say over 50 years or so, and going back to the good old days of taking back control. Those would include the good old days where the gamekeeper knew best and could do his habitat destruction and raptor killing in the full knowledge that the law was no barrier. But as this blog has warned for years now, divergence from EU environmental standards will have far-reaching implications for nature cosnervtion, and those implications will be at a net detriment to our environment and our wildlife.

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2 Replies to “Countryside Alliance pokes at environmental protections post-Brexit”

  1. I think you are absolutely right Mark in your assessment of what the aims of these right wing shooters are.
    It is just a crying shame that the General Election let in the current bunch of right wing cowboys. Of course their is a difference between Scotland and England and I think, I hope, the politicians in Scotland ( SNP) will maintain and defend the Birds and Habitats Directives much more vigorously that this lot in Westminster. However I am not very clear as to the powers they have in this respect.
    One day we will wipe the smile of Mr Tim Bonner’# face by banning driven grouse shooting, setting the Directives in stone, and banning anyone from owning a gun of any sort.
    We desperately need an electable leader of the Labour Party (Sir Keir Stammer) that can win the next election after next few years has shown that leaving the EU was an unmitigated disaster for this the country and that the current right wing cowboys have made a complete hash of things.

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    1. A nice theory, but unfortunately even if Brexit is an unmitigated disaster,I doubt those that voted for it will admit it! They will merely say it was price worth paying for "independence", given that the current PM knows it isn't necessarily best for the country but has suited his political aims and a large proportion of the UK population have voted for it without actually understanding the consequences.

      If your relying upon the SNP to show an example, then recent history would indicate that this is a a forlorn hope! Lots of nice talk but not actually much action!

      Whilst I admire your sentiment, the idea that guns will one day be banned is not exactly helpful. Whilst I respect the views of those who think that all shooting is wrong, unfortunately thats not realistic and it does immense harm to those many people who are supportive of wildlife conservation and stopping the illegal persecution of Raptors but who participate quite legally in shooting and activities like fishing.

      Many of them contribute both in deed and by hard cash payments to serious conservation, but they are not going sign up to a cause whereby their legitimate activities are threatened with a ban because it offends some people.
      The majority of the wider public, whose support is also required, both at the ballot box and through public opinion will not sign up to such views.

      Nor is it realistic, successful conservation requires there to be management of the fauna and flora and this involves culling certain species and in some cases this requires shooting.

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