I've just sent Vince Cable an email and I am asking you to do the same, please.

In a quite breath-taking move, the coalition government has put all environmental regulation up for grabs in the 'Red Tape Challenge'.  Potentially this is 'Bye, bye' Wildlife and Countryside Act and 'Bye, bye' Climate Change Act.  Surely some mistake, here?

Even to refer to legislation like the Wildlife and Countryside Act as 'red tape' is to belittle the efforts of past nature conservationists and parliamentarians who carefully constructed this legislation which was widely welcomed at the time and whose aims and general thrust have rarely been questioned since.

Now it can't be the case that all existing regulation is perfect, that is very unlikely to be the case, and I can tell you now that it isn't (gasps of amazement).  However, to put absolutely everything on the table risks throwing out an awful lot of babies with a few drops of bath water.  And the Cabinet Office must know this - that Oliver Letwin is no fool. 

Please do act on this - Step up for Nature with the RSPB and make politicians see sense.

Regulation forms an important tool in the conservation kitbox and yet it is generally out of favour with all political parties at the moment.  Rather than saying 'No. this is wrong, don't do it' politicians reach for incentives, voluntary initiatives and other weak measures to try to make the world a better place.  It's a good job that sensible people passed laws to prevent kids being pushed up chimneys to clean them otherwise would we now face the 'Chimney cleaning operators' voluntary initiative to reduce by a few weeks the average age of young sweeps'?

If you feel as angry and worried about this move as I do then please act - and I see that 38 Degrees is giving you another opportunity to express your views here.

 

 

Anonymous
Parents
  • My e-mail of protest to Mr Cable went to him a few minutes before I came to your blog here Mark. As you say actions like this belittle all the past and recent efforts of a lot of dedicated people. I think these politicians confuse red tape with the increasingly complex world in which we all now live and their rather childish reaction is to lash out regardless and without any thought. Everything is more complex these days, even our cars, which we used to start with a starting handle now need a mini computer to start them but because of their much better performance we don't go back to starting handles! Every scrap of our wildlife and environmental legislation is necessary and a lot more besides. It would be a great shame if the "greenest government" ever actually ended up being the "Philistines" of our natural world but with moves like this, this is very much the way it could be.

Comment
  • My e-mail of protest to Mr Cable went to him a few minutes before I came to your blog here Mark. As you say actions like this belittle all the past and recent efforts of a lot of dedicated people. I think these politicians confuse red tape with the increasingly complex world in which we all now live and their rather childish reaction is to lash out regardless and without any thought. Everything is more complex these days, even our cars, which we used to start with a starting handle now need a mini computer to start them but because of their much better performance we don't go back to starting handles! Every scrap of our wildlife and environmental legislation is necessary and a lot more besides. It would be a great shame if the "greenest government" ever actually ended up being the "Philistines" of our natural world but with moves like this, this is very much the way it could be.

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