Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Rural Affairs

I've been perusing various consultation documents and plans released by DEFRA and Natural England over the past few days. Their aim is to establish a direction for conservation. An "invitation to shape the nature of England", they call it.

My problem with this is that DEFRA being involved in any conservation plans is fundamentally wrong. Rural affairs and conservation are two completely separate areas, albeit that they are commonly entwined as, naturally, a great deal of biodiversity matters would be pointless to address in urban areas. We've already destroyed those particular places in terms of habitat for most creatures, save for the odd "Nature Reserve" - where people can take their screaming children to gawp at a goat and a few ducks. Hell, they might even get lucky and spot a Heron before it quickly disappears at the sound of class 6 arguing over coloured crayons.

Farming and Agriculture often go hand in hand with the words "countryside" or "rural". But it can be just as destructive to biodiversity as building a block of flats. Every year we - as a race - are using more land to grow crops: ruining it with fertilizers, stealing from the water table for irrigation, meticulously raping the ground for every last nutrient to produce more and more for supermarkets to sell at the lowest possible price. Cattle mutilate grass meadows; woods and forests are cleared for agriculture; gamekeepers and farmers shoot or poison any creature that gets in their way and build ever larger, more modern barns and outbuildings. To me, there is little in these actions that are common with conservation and protecting our fast-disappearing natural landscape.

DEFRA should have nothing to do with biodiversity and conservation. Food and "Rural Affairs" are in direct competition with Environment - which should have a wholly separate organisation to counter the problems caused for the environment BY food and rural affairs.


  1. Here here, Pity you havn't got many followers, a lot more people should read those words.

  2. I know Mike. Damn my unpopularity!