Natural Selection

Natural England, a non-departmental government body sponsored by DEFRA, is recruiting for 29 professional posts (https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472685%20 and https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1472667%20). Twenty-nine. At £24,120pa each, that costs £700,000 even without employer’s pension contributions. Where’s that money coming from during the current sustained attack on environmental public spending, including severe cuts to DEFRA?

Interestingly, these roles are in “Sustainable development” – that delightful oxymoron – as Planning or Wildlife Management Lead Advisers. Could these be aimed at combatting wildlife crime and protecting our wildlife?

Perhaps the role specifications may offer clues:
“Support the delivery of the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)”
“Working with a range of partners, customers and colleagues to implement changes in the delivery of land use work.”
“Building partnerships with customers (primarily LPAs [Local Planning Authorities]) and stakeholders to resolve complex and often contentious planning issues and to develop collaborative strategic land use approaches to conserving and enhancing the natural environment.”
Curiously open to interpretation. “Changes.” “Enhancing.”

More curiously,
“Spotting opportunities for income generation through our Discretionary Advice Service including preparing Customer Contracts and delivering the service specified.”
“Spot opportunities around income generation, draw up contracts and work with customers on Pre Application advice.”

Perhaps government is expecting these roles to pay for themselves through licensing land owners to indulge their delusions of military control over nature. Perhaps I’m over-sensitive since our equivalent, Scottish Natural Heritage, is on its own crusade to monetise nature. Ah, time for my anti-cynicism medication.

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Intensed Milk

“The Government itself declined to comment directly on the intensification issue but said that an over-supply of milk on the world market was partly to blame for the sharp fall in milk prices and therefore increasing production was ‘not the answer’. ‘It’s about increasing the great things we do with that liquid milk.'” (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986357/the_march_of_the_industrial_megadairy_is_this_the_future_of_milk.html)

DEFRA once again offers penetrating insight that an over-supply will not be solved by increasing production and that milk is liquid.

Water Protection Zeroes

“Investigations by WWF-UK, the Angling Trust and Fish Legal have revealed that, in January 2011, Defra Ministers and the Environment Agency decided to put the brakes on the use of WPZs [Water Protection Zones], except as a ‘last resort’. This was despite overwhelming evidence that other measures to tackle the pollution problem would not be sufficient. … It also flies in the face of Defra’s own analysis which has repeatedly shown that relying on voluntary action by farmers alone will not solve the problem of agricultural pollution.” (http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/press_centre/index.cfm?uNewsID=7722)

The High Court is expected to award habitat damages to the plaintiffs and 100 lashes by angling flies in the face to Defra.

Ecoliteracy

“The UK has been running up a massive environmental deficit over recent decades and which future generations will have to pay off. These cuts are a false economy and will undermine and jeopardise the future growth and development of the economy. … We are now faced with the extremely worrying prospect that Government no longer has the ecological literacy or functionality that society needs if we are to build a genuinely sustainable future.” (http://www.rspb.org.uk/media/releases/409659-rspb-and-the-wildlife-trusts-criticise-decision-to-cut-funding-for-environment-by-up-to-40)

UK government seems to have succumbed to the loan shark mentality: combine all your debts into one easy, overwhelmingly impossible repayment.

The Doomsday Dance

“The Shell document says: ‘We also do not see governments taking steps now that are consistent with 2 degrees C scenario.'” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/17/shell-accused-of-strategy-risking-catastrophic-climate-change)

We’ll happily take a step just as soon as you do.
Well, we’ll happily make a move if you’re all agreed that we should.
You absolutely should so long as it’s unilateral across all companies.
Of course, of course; so you’ll take that step?
We’ll happily take a step just as soon as you do.
Ad apocalypsium.

“If we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to keep Arctic oil in the ground. Arctic drilling gives us a 75 percent chance of an oil spill and a 100 percent chance of climate catastrophe.” (http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0515-morgan-shell-gets-green-light-for-exploratory-drilling.html)

Poll-ution

It is hoped that new UK government appointments “may bring a more evidence-based approach to rubbish.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2015/may/11/amber-rudds-appointment-as-climate-secretary)

…as we continue autopsying last week.
“One of the main sources of information for voters is precisely what the pollsters tell them.” (http://www.nature.com/news/why-the-polls-got-the-uk-election-wrong-1.17511)

Heisenberg’s Poll Certainty Principle.

Want a fairer, more proportional voting system which ensures that seats in Parliament match the way people vote?
http://action.makeseatsmatchvotes.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1754&ea.campaign.id=38262&ea.tracking.id=msmv

Cracture

“Fracking is set to be banned on two-fifths of the land in England being offered for shale gas exploration by the government. … A government source said: ‘Everyone still wants to get cracking, but they realise you have to take people with you and that is filtering through.'” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/feb/02/fracking-set-to-be-banned-from-40-of-englands-shale-areas)

Like Chinese whispers, the message filtering through to the government from the people is ‘crack off’.