New Minister Must Understand that Looking After Environment is Key to Regeneration

Wednesday 5th September 2012

Grassland habitatGrassland habitat

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country have been quick to remind Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson MP, that standing up for wildlife is not a burden, but a help to regenerating the economy.

With much important work already under way locally on creating a Nature Improvement Area, which was launched by Mr Paterson’s predecessor earlier this year, the Trust are keen to see the government deliver on the promises in the Natural Environment White Paper, 2011.

Neil Wyatt, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country, said the top priority for Owen Paterson should be to build on the work done by Caroline Spelman and deliver on the promises in the White Paper. This includes leaving the natural environment in a better state than that we inherited it in, and to challenge other members of government who paint the environment as a barrier to the economy.

“We wish Owen Paterson well, but has his work cut out against the background of other moves in the government towards a more short-sighted approach to the environment, and the Wildlife Trusts movement will do all it can to support him in his new challenge.

“There is a danger that this re-shuffle could be seen as a green light for out-dated thinking on everything environmental - ranging from site protection to road schemes and airport expansion.

“All departments must be reminded of our dependence on the environment as a life support mechanism and of the critical role nature plays in our well-being.

“Many developers now understand the importance of a high quality environment to make new commercial and properties saleable, so Mr Paterson must not revisit the mistakes of the past.”

Tagged with: Cabinet reshuffle, Environment, Owen Paterson, Wildlife