From: Stephen Hardy MBE, Trustee, CPRE Sussex, George Close, Robertsbridge
Poignantly the BBC last week showed a picture of the cottages at Birling Gap, just down the coast which are predicted to collapse into the sea within 25 years.
The photo was to illustrate its story, asking where was the Government’s much-touted 25 year plan for the environment, a key part of its 2015 General Election manifesto.
A leaked draft of the plan the BBC obtained shows bold aspirations but is totally lacking in practical solutions and contains no targets at all.
How can we measure then the Government’s success in meeting its aspirations? Is it just window dressing or greenwash?
Leaked at the same time was a report that DEFRA, the government department in charge of the environment faced such radical staffing cuts now has no staff at all to deal with implementing a farming policy needed once the UK leaves the EU.
If that is the case, it surely bodes ill for the future of environment policy in the UK which will be needed just the same, and underlines the importance of a credible 25 year plan.
So will the ideas of Owen Patterson, ex-Conservative Environment Secretary prevail? At the Oxford farming conference in January this year he said he wanted to see ‘biodiversity offsetting introduced so that the natural environment can be sustained for the long term without unduly impeding rural development’.
That is Tory code for more houses in our precious countryside. Is that what we want?
Measuring environmental protection by the number of houses we build in the countryside?
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