Monday, December 12, 2011

New economic model needed

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This letter in the Post (copied below) from nine environment and wildlife organisations is pretty much spot on:

THE environmental movement has spoken out repeatedly against policies that put short-term profit ahead of our countryside and wildlife, eroding our natural capital and quality of life.

But rarely have we been as incredulous as we were last week on hearing the Coalition's autumn budget statement. The stunning disregard shown for the value of our natural environment not only flies in the face of popular opinion but goes against everything the Government said in June when it launched two major pieces of environmental policy – the Natural Environment White Paper and the England Biodiversity Strategy.

It is increasingly clear that society needs a new economic model [perhaps something like the one I've sketched out - see image] that accounts properly for our natural capital. Yet with this statement, its "red tape challenge", sudden cuts to solar subsidies, and its ill-conceived planning reforms, the Government is continuing an out-of-date approach that casts regulation and the environment as enemies of growth.

In a region like the South West, one that trades beyond all on the quality of its environment, this is madness.

Is the environment really an obstacle to economic productivity or is it in fact the very basis of it, as well as of our national well-being? Not a hard question to answer and there is an increasingly powerful body of evidence that demonstrates this, including the Government's own National Ecosystem Assessment.

How can the Prime Minister tolerate this gaping intellectual and political inconsistency, and walk with open eyes down a policy path that condemns future generations to a lower quality of life and to a massive and costly struggle to rebuild the country's natural riches?

We appeal to you Mr Cameron to show leadership and champion long-term, sustainable economic policies that will bring much-needed prosperity without destroying all that millions hold dear.

Harry Barton, Chief Executive, Devon Wildlife Trust;
Mike Birkin, Regional Campaigner, Friends of the Earth;
Simon Cripps, Chief Executive, Dorset Wildlife Trust;
Trevor Edwards, Chief Executive, Cornwall Wildlife Trust;
Steve Grainger, Chief Executive, Avon Wildlife Trust;
Gary Mantle, Director, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust;
Dr Gordon McGlone, Chief Executive, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust;
Simon Nash, Chief Executive, Somerset Wildlife Trust;
Tony Richardson, South West Regional Director, RSPB