...if they fail to comply with European regulations". That was the message from the Prime Minister in the second part of his interview with John Craven on Countryfile last night. If you missed it, you can watch it again here. He was talking at the time about animal welfare standards. I wonder if he feels the same about those Member States that have yet to establish a comprehensive network of protected in the marine environment as determined by the EU Birds and Habitats Directives?
He also supported the "difficult" decision of announcing two pilot areas "as part of a balanced package of measures" to tackling bovine tuberculosis. I look forward to seeing the rest of the package.
But, I must not be too sniffy, I was pleased that the Prime Minister (the first?) agreed to be interviewed on Countryfile. It suggests that it is politically important for him to be seen to be engaged in rural issues. And while it was disappointing that John failed to ask any questions excplicitly about wildlife, in my mind it reinforces the need for NGOs and their members to continue to pressure politicians to be as good at it can be on protecting the environment. Unless the voters tell their elected representatives about their concerns for the environment, can we really blame them if they direct their energy onto other pressing matters?
So, my advice to anyone that reads this and cares about nature - make your local MP your pen pal. Tell her or him what you think about how the goverment is getting on protecting wildlife and tackling climate change, tell her or him about the species or special places that matter to you and are at risk from planning reforms, tell her or him that the Habitats Regulations are an appropriate test of sustainable development and tell her or him about your frustration that we still have no comprehensive network of European sites in the marine environment. And tell her or him that you'll be in touch again soon.
Have a good week. And do tell me if you will be writing to your MP sometime soon...
Hi Martin, I have written to my MP about Mr Osbornes alarming statments about the Habitats Directive. As you say it is probably a step forward that the Prime Minister was interviewed on Country File and that his message was that EU member states should be taken to court if they fail to comply with EU Regulations. (I trust that will apply to this Government if they infringe the Habitats Regulations or Birds Directive) However, overall, I again felt that the interview disappointed. There was a fair amount of politics in some of his answers, particularly in commiting to resurrect the hunting with dogs issue. I also felt the he lacked a holistic /overall appreciation of the issues facing the natural world and our countryside. The omission of any reference at all to the continuing loss of biodiversity both onshore and offshore was gross, though of course that was possibly as much down to the interviewer as to the Prime Minister. Marks out of 10 for the interview? I would give it 4, no more.
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