Wednesday 26 September 2018

Manifesto for Wildlife

Just published, Chris Packham's A Manifesto for Wildlife. He asked 20 people what their "top 10" measures would be. His choice of people was obviously highly selective, and as a result a lot of the document seems to be a front for "anti-hunting and shooting" / "anti-farmer" / "more laws, bans, taxes and Big Government" leftist types. Wildlife often seems to get a little lost among the political axe-grinding. But the following picks would be my do-able practical measures from the document, in no particular order:

"Hedgerow trees to be celebrated and replenished – today they are almost uniform in age, and are not being replaced as they die."

"Focus on increasing domestic fruit and vegetable production with special support for small-scale producers."

"Identify no-dig Root Protection Areas (RPAs) around valuable trees and protect them."

"All new-build estates must have a pond".

"In areas designated as nature reserves, dogs – with the exception of assistance dogs – to be banned. On areas or footpaths adjacent to nature reserves, dogs should be on their leads at all times. ... [serviced] dog-walking hotspots should be established to attract owners away from a wildlife-sensitive area".

"A small increment on benefit payments (from universal credit to pensions) in return for hours worked on local wildlife conservation" or litter picking in green spaces etc.

"Every primary school in Britain to be twinned long-term with a farm".

Either give up and "downgrade all National Parks to Upland Nature Areas", or else give them real powers to actually protect and boost nature. Such as by robustly excluding damaging human activity (e.g, motorbikes, trail bikers, mountain-bikers, dog walkers, cars) from key areas.

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