Uncertain future for the grey partridge

It has certainly been a busy week all round. I don’t really want to mention the C word, through fear of it’s very mention sending you all dashing for the return button. But it would be an oversight to not touch on the government’s spending review and the aftermath of our budget cuts. And with it, the very deep hole that now sits in the nation’s spending.

I know a lot of people feel rather bemused by the whole thing. The build up was immense and we were all left second guessing what may or may not be left of the public sector after Wednesday’s announcements.

I imagine there will still be a huge amount of uncertainty in the coming weeks and this is true for our conservation bodies and key environmental funding. A huge sigh of relief was heard when we discovered that HLS (the government’s Higher Level Scheme for farmers and land-owners) would be saved from the axe. Without this funding we would struggle to help declining species in our wider countryside. It’s a simple message, but the harsh reality is that if this funding ceased to be, we would almost certainly have to question the future of our turtle doves, our skylarks and our grey partridges and that’s just for starters.

But, we musn’t become complacent about it now. There is still a long way to go to make sure that our new government put our environment onto the priority list for their future plans.

Having failed miserably to meet the 2010 targets to halt the loss of biodiversity, we need to look to the future and we need to get serious. With an even sparser budget, Caroline Spelman will have a job to do to make sure that our environmental concerns are not ignored. Organisations, businesses, NGO’s and the public must work together creatively to make sure that biodiversity doesn’t suffer for future generations at the hands of past ignorance.