My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
This morning, I asked whether the new Environment Watchdog would have bite and this afternoon, once the Defra consultation had been published, we had the answer: a resounding no.
This is my comment that we released to the media earlier today...
"These proposals do not set out the ‘world-leading’ environmental watchdog the Prime Minister promised us in January. The Government's green credibility is now hanging by a thread. Vital principles of environmental law such as the 'polluter pays' principle need to be enshrined in law not policy, and the proposals for the green watchdog amount to little more than a green poodle with only the ability to issue weak ‘advisory notices’. The DEFRA 25 year plan will not be worth the paper it is written on if the targets for nature’s recovery are not written into law."
Our team will do a more detailed analysis over the next few days and we shall be encouraging as many people as possible to respond to the consultation to bolster the proposals.
In the meantime, do read the consultation here, compare against the tests we set this morning and make up your own mind about whether the watchdog is more poodle, spaniel or rottweiler.
Absolutely agree with Glossy Ibis. I am sorry to say this Government and its supporters are unable to rid ithemselves of their vested interests to the betterment of the Environment and wildlife.
What a pathetic piece of gobbledygook. Thank goodness for the Walshaw Moor outcome.