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.



A love of the natural world demonstrates that a person is a cultured inhabitant of planet Earth.

  • Thanks for the prompt Mark I've sent Vinnie an email. I had already done similar the other day for 38 Degrees; just like the 3 Degrees they're always in tune.

    I think your right trimbush, the RSPB could never get 400,000 protest on London. However I think Mark could quite easily, but he would never do that because he realises in doing so the carbon footprint it would cause would'nt be good for the enviroment.

  • It’s time British countryside folk got back their way of life

    The main task of an incoming (non-New Labour) Government is to undo all of the wrong that’s been imposed upon the Nation by New Labour since 1997 – including its anti-rural, tribal, corrupt and divisive legislation imposed upon the countryside – a massive job – and only four years to do it in!  And (as ever) it’s had to start with the Economy.  It’s in a hurry – there’ll be U-turns – but I fear the lunatic left-wingers may get back in next time ‘round!

    New Labour’s decimation of the British countryside was nothing short of ‘cultural cleansing’ – the hunting ban, ‘right to roam’, FMD, bTB, etc – all issues that need addressing.  

    Let it be clear – New Labour was (still is) opposed to field sports, dismissive of the rights of property, obsessed with the need for more regulation of rural business and agriculture and in the case of some New Labour ministers, hostile to livestock farming itself.

    You RSPB guys just want it your way – your way must be the best way – anyone else’s way is wrong – so all 1,000,000 (unthinking) RSPB members should email (oh so easily – ‘just click here’) the Government and tell it that it’s wrong – Mark says so!

    Mark - try getting over 400,000 of your UK- wide members to March on London!

    The RSPB’s March ( /Stand up) for Nature – what do reckon? 30,000 from the South-East?

    Now is the time for all those seeking to represent rural life to take stock and ask themselves whether or not to take the gloves off on certain issues.

  • If the Govt intention is to codify legislation and make it easier to understand I might be in favour but the stated intention is clearly not that.  The stated intention is to review this legislation and throw out 'red tape' that is burdensome to businesses with the presumption that it will go unless a good argument is made.

    Regulations are intended to regulate and that means the person being regulated WILL find it burdensome. The review is aimed at getting answers from businesses who are among the people being regulated.  This review seems to forget the aim of regulations is to protect something.

    My main concern is that had the media not raised this none of the public would have known it was going on.  The government haven't announced it to my knowledge and if you search for it you can't really find it.

    There is so much to take in on this that the general member of the public can't understand it all; you can't expect them to look up every piece of legislation to see what they think.

    Take the example of Schedule 4 which is part of the quoted legislation.  Peregrines removed from the schedule's protection a couple of years ago.  This year they have had to be made a wildlife crime priority by PAW.

    You would also have thought the Government would have learned something from the Forest scenario.

  • 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.