British Conservative attack on conservation

This video is called Scott of the Antarctic profile with Sir Ranuph Fiennes.

See also about Scott’s infamous Terra Nova expedition.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Wildlife legacy of Captain Scott in danger from chancellor’s bid to tear up habitat protections

Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust invokes memory of explorer and his son Peter Scott in attack on George Osborne‘s plan to open countryside to industry

Robin McKie, science editor

Sunday 25 March 2012

The head of one of the country’s most important wildlife organisations has warned that changes in planning regulations, to be outlined by the government this week, could devastate the country’s fragile natural reserves.

Martin Spray, chief executive of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, used the 100th anniversary of the organisation’s genesis to attack the policies of the chancellor, George Osborne, who wants to weaken rules that protect wildlife habitats from industrial development.

The timing of Spray’s attack is specific. The trust traces its foundation to the last letter written by Captain Robert Falcon Scott as he lay dying in his tent in Antarctica in March 1912. Spray said: “In his letter, Scott urged his wife to take care of their son Peter and ‘to make the boy interested in natural history if you can; it is better than games’.

“Those words had a fantastic impact. Peter Scott went on to found our trust, help establish the World Wildlife Fund, and lay down key international conventions that protect habitats and wildlife. For good measure, he was a gifted wildlife painter and a wonderful communicator about nature. He completely changed the way we thought about the environment.”

But now Scott’s legacy is threatened by Osborne, who wants to ensure environmental regulations no longer impair economic growth in any way, a prospect that exposes WWT reserves to threats such as the construction of a barrage in the Severn estuary and an airport in the Thames estuary.

Last year Osborne set up a government review of how EU directives on habitats and birds are being applied in England. Osborne also played a key role in the instigation of a white paper on planning which is to be announced on Tuesday. It is widely expected that it will recommend considerable weakening of environmental regulations in order to open the countryside to development.

The timing could not be worse, said Spray, who described Osborne’s proposals as the work of a “naive and ill-informed” person. The day after publication of the white paper on planning rules, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust will convene at the London Wetland Centre to commemorate Captain Scott and his son. Sir Peter Scott not only created the trust but became the nation’s first nature broadcaster with his TV series Look, running from 1955 to 1981.

Falcon Scott, Captain Scott‘s grandson, will attend and announce a series of initiatives aimed at ensuring future generations remain interested in protecting the environment. “My grandfather became very interested in scientific issues during his last expedition to the south pole,” he told the Observer.

“When he wrote his last letter, he asked my grandmother Kathleen to make my father [Peter] interested in natural history. She took that request very seriously and certainly succeeded. Thanks to that letter, and to her, we now have the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the WWF and all the other things my father helped set up.”

David Attenborough once claimed: “If conservation was ever to have a patron saint, it would be Peter Scott.”

Spray agreed: “Peter Scott was a very brave man – he served on destroyers in the Atlantic during the war and won the Distinguished Service Cross. He won a bronze medal for sailing at the Berlin Olympics and was a British gliding champion. But most of all he was an inspirational leader. He understood that the best way to protect wildlife was to get the public interested in it.

“In the 1950s, wildlife organisations were simply throwing barbed wire round refuges to protect them. Sir Peter realised that was wrong. He opened his first reserve at Slimbridge in Gloucestershire and encouraged the public to come in and look at the birds there. He stimulated a whole generation of people to be interested in nature.

“It is a tragedy, then, that in the very week we honour his work and the work of his father, this government is set to announce measures that will only help to dismantle their great legacy and damage our natural environment, the most precious resource we have in Britain.”

March 2012. The tranquillity of the waters around the Bird sanctuary at Weir Wood Reservoir in East Sussex, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, could be shattered if planning for a Corporate Entertainment Clay Pigeon/Air Rifle/Archery range is permitted. As part of the Corporate Activity package, the Council received a planning application for erection of Timber Buildings/pavilion for entertaining and a clay pigeon shooting range ,open between 9am and 6pm including weekends and Bank Holidays about 300m from a bird hide and overlooking the bird sanctuary at the western end of Weir Wood reservoir: here.

6 thoughts on “British Conservative attack on conservation

  1. From: Ramon Bultron
    Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 5:01 AM
    Subject: [IMA 2008] PLS. SIGN-ON: “Rights at Risk at Rio” Open Letter
    To: ima-2008

    apologies for cross-posting…

    Dear All,

    Here is the open letter to the UNCSD Sec Gen about Rights at Risks at the UN for circulation and sign-on. I have included a list of orgs who have helped draft this letter or explicitly expressed support as initial signatories.

    If you wish to add your organization to the list of signatories please sign and share the online petition at

    If you wish your organization’s name to appear in the signatories of the version that goes out to the adressees and the press on Tuesday. The deadline to sign-on is 6pm tomorrow (Mar. 26) New York time.

    Thank you all…

    Paul Quintos
    IBON International


    Open Letter to the Secretary General for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), Co-Chairs of the Bureau for Rio+20 and Member-States of the United Nations


    We – the civil society organizations and social movements who have responded to the call of the United Nations General Assembly to participate in the Rio+20 process – feel that is our duty to call the attention of relevant authorities and citizens of the world to a situation that severely threatens the rights of all people and undermines the relevance of the United Nations.

    Remarkably, we are witnessing an attempt by certain countries to weaken, or “bracket” or outright eliminate nearly all references to human rights obligations and equity principles in the text, “The Future We Want”, for the outcome of Rio+20.

    This includes references to the right to food and proper nutrition, the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, the right to development and others. The right to a clean and healthy environment, which is essential to the realization of fundamental human rights, remains weak in the text. Even principles previously agreed upon in Rio in 1992 are being bracketed – the Polluter Pays Principle, Precautionary Principle, Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR).

    Many member states are opposing prescriptive language that commits governments to actually do what they claim to support in principle and act as duty bearers of human rights, including the provision of finance, technology and other means of implementation to support sustainable development effort in developing countries. On the other hand, there is a strong push for private sector investments and initiatives to fill in the gap left by the public sector. This risks privatizing and commoditizing common goods – such as water – which in turn endangers access and affordability, which are fundamental to such rights.

    Although economic tools are essential to implement the decisions aiming for sustainability, social justice and peace, a private economy rationale should not prevail over the fulfillment of human needs and the respect of planetary boundaries. Therefore a strong institutional framework and regulation is needed. Weakly regulated markets have already proven to be a threat not only to people and nature, but to economies and nation states themselves. Markets must work for people, people should not work for markets.

    From the ashes of World War II humanity gathered to build institutions aiming to build peace and prosperity for all, avoiding further suffering and destruction. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights spells out this collective will, and the United Nations organization was created to make it a reality. Alarmingly, this very institution is now being used as a platform to attack the very rights it should safeguard, leaving people without defense and putting the very relevance of the UN at stake.

    We urge member states to bring the Rio+20 negotiations back on track to deliver the people’s legitimate agenda and the realization of rights, democracy and sustainability, as well as respect for transparency, accountability and non-regression on progress made.

    We call on the UN Secretary General to stand up for the legacy of the United Nations by ensuring that Rio+20 builds on the multi-generational effort to strengthen rights as the foundation of peace and prosperity.

    We urge our fellow citizens of the world to stand up for the future we want, and let their voices be heard. To that end the Rio+20 process should be improved by adopting the proposals we submit below.

    On Greater participation for MGs

    We are concerned by the continuing exclusion of Major Groups from the formal negotiating process of the Rio+20 zero draft. Unlike in the Preparatory Committee Meetings and the Intersessional Meetings, Major Groups and other Stakeholders have not been allowed to present revisions or make statements on the floor of the meeting. Nor, we suspect will we be allowed to make submissions or participate fully in the working negotiation group meetings that are likely to follow. Despite the UN DESA having compiled a text that shows all the revisions suggested by Major Groups, these revisions to the zero draft have so far not been included in the official negotiating text.

    We request that the Major Groups be given the opportunity to submit suggestions and wording which would then be added to the official text for consideration, indication of support or deletion, and potential inclusion by governments.

    We appeal to the UNCSD Secretary General to urgently reverse this state of affairs and to ensure that Major Groups have a seat at the table and a voice in the room where the negotiations are taking place. Please ensure that at the very least, Major Groups are allowed a formal statement at the commencement of the next negotiating session and at every session where a new draft text is introduced.#


    Ibon International

    Vitae Civilis

    The Access Initiative

    Stakeholder Forum

    Council of Canadians

    Consumers International

    Sustain Labour

    International Trade Union Confederation


    Women in Europe for a Common Future


  2. Pingback: Wildlife endangered in British colonies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Britain, from American revolution to Afghanistan | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Antarctic explorer Scott’s last letter published at last | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: Bewick’s swans news | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.