Letter: Wildlife still in peril
Wildlife still in peril
Sir: It is always entertaining to see just how much spin the Government can put on an issue, but Monday's offering, "Wildlife sites to be made inviolate", was extraordinary, not least because of official data showing how more than 300 sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) are damaged or destroyed quite legally every year.
We were told that the Government is submitting to Brussels for confirmation the final list of wildlife sites chosen to be Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive. We were assured that these would represent "a new form of European super-protection ... for some of Britain's loveliest and wildest landscapes".
The fact is, though, that all of these sites are in effect modified SSSIs and are not adequately protected. Indeed, an unpublished European Commission report, obtained by Friends of the Earth, has found that the UK has failed properly to transpose the directive, and that the UK's wildlife legislation is shockingly deficient. There are dozens of legal mechanisms missing and the Commission has now opened a legal case against the UK government which could ultimately result in them being fined for every week that they fail to deliver the level of protection required.
If the Prime Minister wants us to believe that his government really does care about wildlife, then he must deliver tough new wildlife laws in this year's Queen's Speech. If he doesn't, he will be dragged into action, kicking and screaming, by the European Commission.
It will be difficult for the Government to spin out of that one.
Policy and Campaigns Director
Friends of the Earth
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If you weren't afraid of flying before last week... you probably are now
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Lauren Goodger calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after sex tape leaks online
- 5 Iraq crisis: End 'very near' for Christianity after Isis takeover, says Bishop
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia