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13/08/2010
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Environment, food and rural affairs

The Government believes that we need to protect the environment for future generations, make our economy more environmentally sustainable, and improve our quality of life and well-being. We also believe that much more needs to be done to support the farming industry, protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable food production.

  • We will introduce measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence.
  • We will introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.
  • We will launch a national tree planting campaign.
  • We will review the governance arrangements of National Parks in order to increase local accountability.
  • We will work towards full compliance with European Air Quality standards.
  • We will take forward the findings of the Pitt Review to improve our flood defences, and prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk.
  • We will examine the conclusions of the Cave and Walker Reviews, and reform the water industry to ensure more efficient use of water and the protection of poorer households.
  • We will work towards a ‘zero waste’ economy, encourage councils to pay people to recycle, and work to reduce littering.
  • We will reduce the regulatory burden on farmers by moving to a risk-based system of regulation, and will develop a system of extra support for hill farmers.
  • We will investigate ways to share with livestock keepers the responsibility for preparing for and dealing with outbreaks of disease.
  • We will take forward the Marine and Coastal Access Act and ensure that its conservation measures are implemented effectively.
  • As part of a package of measures, we will introduce a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine tuberculosis.
  • We will promote high standards of farm animal welfare. We will end the testing of household products on animals and work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research. We will promote responsible pet ownership by introducing effective codes of practice under the Animal Welfare Act, and will ensure that enforcement agencies target irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs.
  • We will ensure that food procured by government departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.
  • We will investigate measures to help with fuel costs in remote rural areas, starting with pilot schemes.
  • We will create a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the planning system.
  • We oppose the resumption of commercial whaling, will press for a ban on ivory sales, and will tackle the smuggling and illegal trade on wildlife through our new Border Police Force.
  • We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

Your comments (242)

  1. Matt Peate says:

    Get rid of the NERC act or sort out section 6 and give back the historic rights of way and also stop local authorities from abusing their powers with tro’s on various rights of way

  2. Blue says:

    625 of Conservative supporters and indeed 75% of the population as a whole are against fox hunting.Bull- baiting, bear baiting, cock fighting and dog fighting were once legalised activities and were strongly defended in their time. Nobody would contest these ‘traditions’ now.The UK cannot expect to influence other countries’s policies on whaling and bull fighting, trophy hunting etc if our Government votes to return to unacceptable sports. We need to look forward as a nation and not backwards.

  3. Kate Sunley says:

    Flooding – has dredging of our rivers become a thing of the past? Surely, some of the problems must be caused by the build up of silt etc in the rivers – it they were dredged regularly the problems of flooding in some areas may be reduced.

  4. Jo Bates says:

    !. Do not cull badgers. Science has repeatedly shown that this does not work. There are 30 cattle led measures from the ISG report being ignored. Farming is not protecting our countryside, it is intensified and slowly destroying our diversity. This is due to competition from abroad. This is not sustainable, and shouldn’t be something tax payers throw money at in an endless fashion. Make it sustainable by creating a niche market, using ecologically sound practices, good quality, organic British farming is the way forward for our pockets and for our wildlife. Coal mining went under…perhaps it is time there was a restructure in farming.
    2. Don’t agree with giving farming any more support…see point 1. No other industry has had this for generations. It’s not sustainable, and I don’t want my taxes to go towards that industry in its current form any more.
    3. Do not repeal the hunting act. Scientific studies show that the main loss to farmers is through poor husbandry. Fact. There is no excuse for tearing around the countryside after foxes. Instead, make it more enforcable, the problem is that as soon as anyone is brought to court, the rich landowners pull together because they are so desperate to treat animals inhumanely they can’t allow a prosecution to win. This is not representative of the population as a whole. And by the by, our local Wildlife officer has repeatedly found a link between gun, drugs theft and other crime, to wildlife crime.
    Given I only knew about this site today, I think more time and more publicity wouldn’t have gone amiss….

  5. Scott Green says:

    repeal section 6 of the NERC act.
    More logical steps should be taken in looking after public right of ways. Motorised traffic does not cause much/ if any damage to byways providing that sensible use is encouraged and TROs are implimented to byways without any kind of hard/gravel surface during wet seasons as this is when byways can become damaged. look at the ridgeway by marlborough as a good example; this byway has remained in very good condition because it is closed over the winter months and open during summer when the ground is hard. closing byways to certain users and not others is unfair and will not reduce the damage to them, i.e. allowing motor bikes but not 4×4s. Many byways become overgrown if not driven by vehicles thus being left unusable by horse riders, walkers and cyclists. Also when byways are resurfaced in ways which allow road based vehicles to drive them they also become the target of fly tippers and joyriders burning out stolen cars, so more thought needs to be put into how byways are repaired and managed, Just closing them to motorised traffic is NOT always the answer. byways and 4×4s are the only way that a lot of disabled people can get out and enjoy the country side.

    Public right of ways should be there for everyone to use/enjoy no matter how they choose to use them as long as sensible use and respect for them is encouraged.

  6. Scott Wright says:

    “We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act.”

    Who the hell do MPs think they are that a vote of 650 people (many of whom have been proven to have little in the way of moral character) should decide on moral issues for 63 MILLION people. Hunting is one of those things that you need to have lived in a particular area to realise that its a more preferable alternative to an increase in fox population and the issue should be decided locally not nationally.

  7. JC says:

    “We also believe that much more needs to be done to support the farming industry, protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable food production” there is no mention here of the government supporting the people that make up rural communities across England. More could be done to support those people who volunteer their time to help run the village halls and community buildings in rural areas. These rural community buildings provide communities with vital facilities, activities and services which would not be made available to the people who live in these rural areas. There are estimated community owned assets in this country worth other £3 billion, yet these are only kept up and running by volunteers. These assets provide a key resource to the community, providing a place for the community to meet and access services, however many of them are old and need significant capital expenditure to bring them up to date and reduce their significant carbon footprints. As community hubs they play a vital part in supporting the community and reducing isolation and hence reducing mental health issues.

  8. Keith Higby says:

    There is no need for carefully managed science led badger control because the proper science not the science where you pick the bits you want to hear and ignore the bits that don`t fit your argument. We have already had a badger cull and the facts are killing badgers is not financially or scientifically viable. Where are we going to stop when we have wiped out all the badgers are we then going to start on deer.

  9. Bob Bate says:

    Repeal the farcical Section six of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. It was bought in as a blanket decision to cover the back sides of local councils (mostly labour) who couldn’t be bothered to get a job done they were asked to do in the 50’s. The current situation and fogginess of the law is ludicrous.

  10. Val Taylor says:

    Food Security – Bees are crucial to food production, therefore their decline is a matter of serious concern. The circumstantial evidence that neonicatinamides are implicated in this is strong (the decline in bee colonies coincided with their introduction), and consequently they have been banned in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia. Even though the connection is not proven, is it worth risking a further decline of these essential insects? Please introduce a ban on all neonicatinamides, not only for agricultural use, but also in domestic pest control and household products.

  11. eileen wojciechowska says:

    A review on large supermarkets swallowing up our individual shops and postal services would be welcome as this has eroded so many communities. The demise of Woolworths and sale of businesses like Cadbury’s is eroding the way we feel about our country. I would like you to encourage enterprise and small business and halt the current obsession of the Sainsbury’s/Tesco’s monopolies.

    Not happy at all about GM foods trials in Norfolk. It appears there is not enough known about it and it is not welcome by many in that county.

    A review about how much hormone is placed in our livestock is healthy and how does this affect consumers? Hormones damage fish. I would like research done to see how hormones, ingested by women, affect the water supplies, here and beyond.

  12. Caerfai says:

    Stop the Welsh Cull and listen to the scientific evidence we have paid thousands for,use immuisation and common sense.
    .Absolutly no English Cull.
    Keep the hunting ban and introduce closed season- barbaric killing adults and leaving the cubs to die of starvation.
    No knee jerk reactions to the tragedy with possible fox connection. If we are going to take on the drastic onslaught of foxes why can’t we employ the same solution to situations such as Whitehaven?. How may times is this going to happen- get all the guns off our streets and from our countryside

    Stop this irresponsible action of spraying all our streets and parks with herbicides.Public health and safety is a joke when this stuffs is sprayed irrespective whether there are babies in prams , the elderly about. How can they get out of the way of these quad bikes spraying chemicals implicated in causing certain cancers. You have stopped smoking in public, drinking in public, what about herbicides in public costing the rate payer thousands in order to poison ourselves.

  13. H Case says:

    Stop culling badges, deer spread TB more than badgers. Find a vaccine the farmers can vaccinate their herds with and not the badgers.
    EU Clean Air Standards. Another useless EU idea. While we are a responsible country and don’t need to hit these targets, there are countries like China and Korea belching out toxins into the atmosphere with no consideration to climate change.
    Please dont legalize fox hunting. A marksman is more humane in killing foxes. The Hunts still meet and hunt, well they do in my village, with no regard to the law and there’s no police in sight, and its such a muddle of legislation no-one would be arrested or charged anyway. Tighten up the law regards hunting so the police can make arrests.
    Halal killing should be banned in the UK. Its cruel and unnecessary suffering to the animals concerned. If we were to slit the throat of a cow or sheep in our garden we’d be arrested.
    Promote local produce with incentives and stop importing over 50% of our food. It might help poorer countries but we need the help now.
    Bring in a national allotment scheme. There are huge areas of green belt not used that could be rented out by local councils as allotments. People want to grow their own and have a few hens. Even in small surburban or city gardens its possible to grow your own and have hens. Legislation should be set in place to allow the keeping of hens in areas where it’s not allowed at present.
    Second homes have killed many villages throughout the country. Make second home owners rent their properties to local people when they are not being used by the owner.
    Bring in more schemes of self builds for rural communities such as the one in Padstow, Cornwall. A local farmer donated one field and several homes were self built for local residents only. There should be more schemes like this organised by the government and councils.
    Promote GM food. Why are people so against it? All the plants and vegetables we know today are genetically modified. How do people think we get F1 hybrid tomatoes and cucumbers, different varieties of garden plants? More education about GM food is needed so people understand that GM food is harmless. With land shortage for crops we cannot survive without GM foods.
    Regards animal welfare. All dogs should be microchipped BEFORE being sold as pups. Only registered breeders should be allowed to breed and sell dogs. There are far too many people breeding dogs just for the money with no care what happens to them. This would prevent people from having dogs and using them in ‘fights’ or as weapons.
    Cats should be speyed before being sold, this would prevent the thousands of unwanted cats in the country. Vets would have a scheme where breeders pay a reduced fee to have their pet speyed/neutered.
    There should be a national set range of fees charged by vets. Some vets are very reasonable, others charge exhorbitant fees and people can’t afford to pay them so the animals suffer.
    Recycling is a total waste of money. It costs councils more to send 3 seperate vans/trucks around once a week than to send one a week. No-one is benefitting from recycling. Garden waste is not available in all areas for communities or individuals to buy cheap compost, you cut your lawn you never see the clippings again. Where do they go? We collect our plastics to be recycled and they’re sold to China who burn them in their power stations, polluting the atmosphere, damaging the ozone layer and causing climate change.
    Invest in incinerators to burn the waste, they are advanced enough these days to filter out toxins so that any smoke into the atmosphere is harmless. Again these are put forward to planning committees and the usual protestors stop them being built. No planning required, build them and burn our waste, don’t recycle it.
    There will be no fish in the oceans in 10 years. This is a scientific fact. Caused by over fishing. Tuna for example is being caught and stored in deep freezes by Mitsibushi for one, because when all the tuna is gone, the frozen tuna will be worth more than gold. Cut back on fishing quotas, the scientists recommend the figures, the EMP’s disregard them and allow more to be fished. It’s not just Tuna thats going to disappear, it’s all fish. Factory ships are leaving waste deposits on the seabed killing marine life, killing corals and turning them into marine deserts. Trawling is damaging the marine environment as much as factory ships too. There needs to be stronger regulations on the methods and amount of fishing around our shores.
    Marine reserves should be set up to protect our dwindling marine wildlife.

  14. meyrick griffith-jones says:

    Get rid of the Forestry Commission. Originally set up for the production of a strategic material, namely timber. We no longer make aeroplanes out of wood! We need the forestry Authority which controls grants, but the loss making Forest Enterprise? Surely not.

    Costs a fortune and the timber is completely outpriced by Eastern European products. Ours is barely worth turning into chipboard. Just sell the properties back to the original owners for a £1 if owners will bear the legal costs – just get shot of it at nil cost to the public finances.

    And the Deer Initiative which the Forestry Commission funds at vast cost? The same info is available from the game Conservancy or the British Deer Society at no cost to the public purse. So just what purpose does that august institution serve?

  15. meyrick griffith-jones says:

    Imunising badgers.

    How?
    And how will you know that you have immunised enough – without leaving the immunising agent in some form scattered all over the countryside?
    And how do you ensure that each animal gets enough of a dose, and avoid a mutation in the the parasite (antibiotics in humans, malaria etc)

    And who is to pay for the process?

  16. Ant says:

    Stop _all_ GM modifcation of crops. Animals not so important, rogue genes can be located and destroyed but once plant rogue genes escape they cannot be recalled. Cease all farming subsidies – it worked well in New Zealand when the EU forced us to drop our Commonwealth! Leave the E in order to be able to do this and that will help free our economy of a lot of distortion to Foreign’s benefit.

  17. The understanding that fuel poverty exists in rural areas and is an issue is very welcome.

    Rural areas are colder than urban, suffer by being off the gas pipeline therefore have higher unit costs and invariably are poorly insulated homes. As our population grows older, these costs will lead to massive issues around our older people being able to heat or eat. Contrast that with lack of transport and poor access to services, without looking at this, the rural communities will suffer greatly

  18. Caroline says:

    Do not bring back Fox Hunting with dogs. If they are a pest they should be shot.

  19. Mrs T Hills says:

    Don’t get rid of the fox hunting ban – this is not a class issue – it is one of being a civilised society and of not subjecting animals to terror and exhaustion before destroying them. If there is a need to cull, then this should be done professionally and they should be shot humanely. If there is no need to cull, then there is no need to chase these wild animals. One of the first things you say on this page is that you will introduce measures to protect wildlife – to seek to overturn the ban is a contradiction.

  20. Mr Jones says:

    As others have said, yes to the repeal of section six of the nerc act of 2006 but introduce TRO’s at certain times of the year on more sensitive and heavily used byways.

    Repeal the ban on fox hunting, it still goes on anyway so why not bring it back and lets see a return to the age old ceremonies of hunting with huntsmasters, horses, hounds and the jobs that come with it.
    If you keep the ban in place then why not extend it to rabbits? If foxes keep rabbit numbers down who controls fox numbers, thats why they spill over onto our streets as theres no control?

    Proceed with the badger cull if it affects livestock and also to manage numbers.

    Bring in a subsidy for green energy to enable home users to gain affordable access to solar and wind technologies so we can do our bit.

    Yes to the zero waste section, rather than householders who recycle a lot having to pay for additional bins ins ome areas give them out free.

  21. “We will introduce measures to protect wildlife ….” well that’s a promising start but then you go and spoil it with “We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act.” A repeal of the Hunting Act would mean a return to the barbaric practice of hunting foxes, deer, hares and other wild mammals with dogs. It would also mean that fox hunts would once more be free to block up badger setts during the badger’s breeding season. These so-called sports are carried out for recreation and in a civilised society they should remain consigned to the history books. If Ministers and MPs feel the Hunting Act is flawed, then the answer is to remove the current loopholes and strengthen the law, not to repeal it.

    And then there is this: “As part of a package of measures, we will introduce a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine tuberculosis.” Control – I presume this is a euphemism for killing? Nearly 11,000 badgers were killed in an expensive but definitive scientific experiment which finally revealed what many us already knew – killing badgers is going to do next to nothing to reduce the incidence of bovine TB in cattle. And if you try the ‘targeted badger cull’ approach favoured by James Paice you will be undertaking a partial cull which would send the incidence of TB in cattle up, not down. (This is one of several indications of James Paice’s woefully inadequate knowledge about bovine TB; another was his request at the 2008 Game Fair for farmers to take photos of TB-infected badgers – there is simply no way that infection with TB can be diagnosed visually in badgers.) As the cost of killing badgers would outweigh any savings in the TB eradication budget, and as the Government’s top priority is reducing the deficit, why on Earth is a badger ‘cull’ even on the agenda? Badger killing in Eire has done little to reduce the proportion of cattle herds suffering TB breakdowns. Meanwhile the incidence of the disease in cattle in Northern Ireland has been dramatically reduced solely through more effective cattle-based control measures, and now we are beginning to see the same thing in Wales where the disease is on the wane before a pointless ‘pilot cull’ gets underway. Tighten up on TB testing and get vaccines in place ASAP. And if you want a science-led policy on badgers then the science shows that the best thing is to leave the badgers alone so that they stay in their family groups and pose the least risk of infection.

  22. R. H.D says:

    The Farming industry like many others are inundated with buearocracy. There is far too much duplication within Defra. The six day standstill does little to prevent desease now(bearing in mind all sheep are electronically tagged so Defra should at any time know where every animal in the UK is) People are employed simply to chase up peoplewho might have made a mistake and hampering their ability to trade. Dairy inspection are now carried out by Milk Buyers,do we need a Defra inspecter any more?

  23. Angela says:

    i think the environment agency should be possibly disbanded thus allowing funding to bypass the middleman and get straight to the local areas. This would allow for funding also to be avaliable for more posts for biodiversity officers for example and those who understand the areas that they live in and what works there and what doesnt.
    it may be that there would have to be a waterways agency. Also local authorities take back waste regulatory roles which were relinquished with the 95 environment act

  24. C Griffiths says:

    In the light of the recent tragedies that have brought foxes to the attention of the public once more, surely there is an argument for legalising fox hunting once more. I do not hunt personally, and know no one who either enjoys it or makes their living from it; my concern comes purely from the alarming increase in the fox population that i have seen in our urban area in the last few years. It is unnerving. These are not tame animals, and i have no desire to have regular contact with them or risk my dog or indeed child (although much less likely) being harmed by one. If hunting helps to reduce this problem then i’m all for it. Yet another ridiculous purely political move performed by our last government.

  25. ANTHONY CHARLTON says:

    More rights of way openess needs to be granted in the countryside. The result of RUPP’s having their status changed overnight to stop motorised access has resulted in the existing BOATs becoming overwhelmed with the increase in traffic, to the extent where many are over used and becoming unsustainable. The increase in useage should be viewed as a positive sign that green laners wish to remain within the law, but funneling these active country side users down a dwindling number of rights of way cannot be sustained. The NERC act of 2006 was never originaly intended to restrict countryside users access, in fact the opposite was the intention, but unfortunately not the result. A real shame.

  26. Arlene Harris says:

    MILK: I support an earlier comment about milk. It is wrong that supermarkets are allowed to sell it so cheap – and I am as guilty as anyone because I buy it! The milkman offers a fantastic service, and he and the farmer should get a fair living from what is such an essential commodity. Perhaps a minimum fixed price would help?

    SUPPORT OUR FARMERS but not by endless subsidies – by implementing the right business plans. There is a strong move amongst the general public (at least here in LANCASHIRE) for local produce. My local butcher is farmer, butcher, and retailer. And his customers begin queuing at 7 am! They offer a fantastic service and if you want an example of how to do it go and see Riley’s at Crawshawbooth in Lancashire. (I’m not connected in any way – but they are as good an example as you will find!) A farm is a business and should pay. If my husband’s business doesn’t pay we don’t get a subsidy!

    BADGER CULL: It is in everyone’s interest to resolve the Bovine TB issue but please look at ALL options. A cull is not science-based! I have read Sir David King’s report to Defra, as well as lots of other ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments. The Badger Trust and other Wildlife organisations opposing the cull are not cranks; or extremists; or activists; they are people who care: care enough to want to resolve the Bovine TB issue for everyone’s sake. These people are also experts! Please get together people who work alongside these animals (including some of the cattle farmers who believe a cull is NOT the answer) – those who know the badger’s habits and are experts in their field – as well as the scientists. All options should be considered and a cull should be the last option. Justice must (genuinely) be seen to be done!

    NEW HOUSING: Every builder should be required by law to provide a certain amount of green space/communal land between every fixed number of new homes. This should be in addition to private gardens. It should be a communal green space where children can play together and residents mix socially. This helps breed good comunities and a better quality of life.

    STREET LIGHTING: When was the last time you were able to see the stars? We need lighting for a safe community but the light is wasted. We need to light up the roads and streets not the skies.

    FOOD LABELLING: We need CLEAR labelling so that consumers can quickly and easily see which country a product is from. And if a packet of ham is called, ‘Wiltshire Ham’ then it should be from Wiltshire – or at least the UK!

    BUY BRITISH: A campaign to get supermarkets supporting AND PROMOTING the british food market

    CLEAR LABELLING of ALL products beit washing powder, coffee, etc. so that people can read them easily. i.e. lilac writing on purple background, or brown on gold is unacceptable.

    FOOD PROCURED BY GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE BRITISH!

    ZERO WASTE ECONOMY: Help rid us of all the wasteful – and totally unecessary – packaging, especially the plastics! We are being buried under a mountain of waste. RECYCLING is great – but better not to have it in the first place!

    REPEAL OF THE HUNTING ACT: I am not against hunting for the table. I am against blood sports for ‘fun’. Any gamekeeper, farmer, bailiff worth his salt will know exactly where to find a fox if it needs shooting – there is no excuse to have it torn to bits to provide entertainment for the few. If it’s the ‘Thrill of the Chase’ that excites – why, this is no better than those who choose to dig for badgers then fight them against dogs. These people, too, get an adrenelin rush at the blood and guts!
    The present ban on hunting with dogs helps protect badgers, deer and other wildlife. Before the ban, anyone caught at a badger sett with dogs and spades simply used the excuse that they were out rabbiting when their dog went down the entrance to the sett. No matter how obvious the circumstances, the RSPCA or the Police could not bring a case for the prosecution. As the law now stands at least the ‘offenders’ can be charged with hunting with dogs. Badger baiters are the lowest form of life … those convicted are usually into gun crime, drugs, or the large-scale theft of farm vehicles. The more these menaces to society can be kept off our streets the better for us all. The under-cover RSPCA officers who undertake this dangerous work should be applauded!

  27. Ian says:

    Re: Waste and Recycling
    You have rather missed the point. We should be working for less waste. Of course recycling what we can is a good plan, but far more important is less waste to start with. If you purchase products with less packaging there is both less for landfill AND less to be recycled – all saving the environment and money. To focus on rewarding recycling is daft unless you also reward less waste to start with. Under your proposed “reward recycling” policy it would pay me to select products with loads on unnecessary packaging provided it could be recycled. Far better for everybody to generate less waste to start with and the way to do that is to reward less waste. This could be by e.g. “pay as you throw” or the other side where you e.g. get points for below a set level of waste. Both are the same but just phrased differently.

    Your current waste proposals will not lower use of landfill.

    Alternatively, pass laws allowing excess packaging to be returned to the vendor (supermarket). Tax packaging (e.g. as a proportion of product weight). I’m sure you can come up with ideas but you have missed a large aspect of what is needed. Ideally as refuse declines so will the carbon footprint (generating all the needless packaging, shipping it round the country, discarding it, collecting and transporting it to landfil/recycling centre, etc. Stop it earlier in the cycle and you solve a lot more problems and costs.

  28. Jim says:

    Less ‘little bits’ such as every council in the country doing it’s own air quality etc. we KNOW cars cause it, one giant model for urban centres could handle this, and yet EACH city spends millions on it?

  29. Isabel says:

    I hope this coalition will NEVER consider bringing back fox-hunting. It is NOT a normal ‘country pursuit’ like many of the upper class claim. I grew up in a rural village and nobody approved of this cruel sport, except the rich who did it! 95% of rural people did not approve and I’m pretty sure that statistic is still true.

  30. Ned Pakenham says:

    My concern is with UK Halal and Kosher meat production. I think animals have the right to be stunned before being slaughtered. It can take an animal a couple of minutes to bleed to death during ritual slaughter; during this time it will often suffer greatly. Why should we continue to tolerate this suffering and abuse? Surely the humane treatment of animals should trump the misguided traditions of some of our religious minority communities.

  31. Ronald Riley says:

    BELIEVE YOUR SIENTIFIC ADVISORS!
    A badger cull is futile and evidence shows that it will have effectively little input to bTB elimination. The reservoir of bTB is already in the cattle and will only be rooted out by using the Gamma interferon test method, combined with movement controls. The KREBs tests did not show that dead badgers increased bTB, it was the better and regular testing for bTB that was detecting the true source.Reactive test misses 1 in 5 infected cattle.
    Putting cattle indoors for 6 months in continually wet and a stressful environment is ideal conditions for bTB.
    Farming methods has done untold damage to the wild flowers and the insect life (including bees), bird populations severely depleted and now to the wild animals, blame everyone, but their own bad practices.
    In the 60s, Btb was almost eliminated by taking out the whole herd (albeit they were smaller numbers) thereby removing all infection. Not one badger killed, but it was successful. THEN THE FARMERS PUSHED TO 4 YEARLY TESTING AND IMPORTED NEW HERDS OF CATTLE LESS RESISTENT TO Btb.
    I-O-M has no badgers,but it does have a bTB problem.
    Scotland has better testing, better controls, badgers and NO bTB
    PLEASE KEEP THE HUNTING WITH DOGS BAN.

  32. Ned Pakenham says:

    My concern is with UK Halal and Kosher meat production. I think animals have the right to be stunned before being slaughtered. It can take an animal a couple of minutes to bleed to death during ritual slaughter; during this time it will often suffer greatly. Why should we continue to tolerate this suffering and abuse? Surely the humane treatment of animals should trump the misguided traditions of some of our religious minority communities.

  33. RC says:

    Repeal Section Six of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act.

    This unfortunate peice of legislation turned 500 years of highway law on it’s head and stole from the the public, the right to travel along many an unsufraced road by mechanically propelled vehicle. Not only that, it introduced restrospective legislation to prevent evidence submitted by the public from being used by local councils (who had spectacularly failed to do the work themselves) to correctly classify rights of way and prevented further rights of way from becoming byways open to all traffic, even if evidence indicates that they should have been.

    Despite govenment funded studies conduced by Faber Maunsell showing that vehicular use on rights of way was a sustainable activity the previous govenment chose to ignore it, as a result less then 2% of the nations rights of way network now carries vehicular rights. This is in contrast to the 78% of the network which is for the exclusive use of walkers in the form of footpaths, add the hugely expensive and little used “right to roam” and the incoming coastal access and it is clear who has received the lions share of Defra access funding in recent years under the previous administration, at the expense of all others.

    In addition, you should also look at injecting some fairness and objectivity into the process of implementing Traffic Regulation Orders on vehicular rights of way. All to often local councils are manipulating it to satifsy the desires of land-owners or anti access groups. The reasons for closures are often nebulous, however as the process is one of “consultation” rather than “negociation” it is all to easy for the council to be judge, jury and executioner. For example, legislation allows for restrictions based on weight, vehicle type, time etc, however, all to often its a permanent ban on all vehicles rather than seeking exemptions for certain types. For example a motorcycle and rider weights less than a ridden horse, but more often than not, motorcycles are banned (lumped in with all vehicles) whereas the heavier (and potentially more damaging) horse is allowed to continue to use the route.

    Public right of ways should be there for everyone to use/enjoy no matter how they choose to use them as long as sensible use and respect for them is encouraged.

    Lastly, the NERC Act as it stands works of a presumption of guilt, rather than innocence for those “caught” using rights of way where vehicular use is yet to be confirmed, with the onus on the defendent to prove that vehicular rights still exist, rather then the prosecution proving that they have been extinguished. A sitiation almost unique in this country. How it that right?

  34. JC says:

    Section Six of the NERC Act needs sorting out. It’s ill thought out, lacks clarity and took away the publics’ rights.

    But this time make sure you get all the user groups together to work it throught, rather than relying on lobbyists whilst ignoring Defra advice.

  35. Richard Goldring says:

    Here’s a rubbish policy for you! (Pun intended) Look in your rubbish bin …. what do you see? Most rubbish these days comes from overpackaged supermarket food. So here’s what I suggest: Push back on the supermarkets … make them responsible for disposing of and recycling their waste packaging. Pass legislation so that people can take their waste supermarket packaging back to the supermarket when they next go shopping (and get rewarded with their clubcard points!!!). Supermarkets make massive profits, they can afford this! Competition will still keep prices down and make the supermarkets reduce their packaging and and make them start to use reuseage packaging. So local councils will be able to reduce money spent on rubbish collection because they supermarkets will have to share this financial burden, reduce the burden on the tax payer and help reduce the national debt. What do you think?

  36. Sarah says:

    Farming is not the only big issue in rural areas! The main issue for a large number of people especially young people and elderly people is the lack of transport! reural areas are sparce in their services and when people need services, they more often than not have not travel for them. HTe lack of transport can result in isolation leading to mental health issues then more drain on the NHS. not to mention more people unable to work or train because they cant get there!

  37. Ali Abbas says:

    One of the biggest global sources of greenhouse gases is farming. We need an urgent assessment of the environmental impacts of meat & dairy production in the UK, and develop a strategy to reduce these emissions and support British farmers to grow their own animal feeds, which are both better for the environment and will also protect them from fluctuations in the price of soy on the global markets.

  38. Baz says:

    Stop using unnecessary regulations as stealth tax to fund job creation. eg chainsaw ‘qualification’ only lasting 3 years then requiring course charged at full cost per person but with 10 on course resulting in huge profit . Nobody forgets how to use the machine just because the calendar clicks over 3 years.
    eg allowing HETAS to charge £550 per type of fuel every year for ‘inspecting’ woodfuel producer or face negative advertising about unapproved wood.
    eg the dozens of closed shops created by regualtions in the building repair sector making the ‘odd job man’ unable to do anything.
    eg special trailer towing tests – hampering new drivers doing simple jobs. If you must just make it automatic say 3 years after test so some experience acquired.

  39. Ed Gilmore says:

    There should be a tax on packaging, single use, and non-recyclable products. All of these contribute to landfill, pollution and environmental damage in our country as well as elsewhere, and we have to pay to deal with it any way. This tax should be ideally levied at the point of manufacture, but as that would be hard to implement if manufactured abroad, it could be applied as an import tax, (potentially giving local British industry an advantage) or even a point of sale tax. Inevitably this cost would be passed on to the customer but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We the public (in general) will only change if we have to, and if it costs us more to buy harmful products we will switch to less harmful ones if they are less expensive. (If harmful products cost more, they’ll also generate more VAT income). Not only would this tax encourage people to shop more sustainably and possibly locally, it would incentivise manufacturers and retailers to provide more sustainable products. (Less packaging could potentially save them money in production costs too.)

    Who should pay for the processing and disposal of this rubbish? The people responsible of course, those that produce it, and those who perpetuate it by supplying it and buying it. And wouldn’t the government rather have the money to deal with disposing of these harmful by-products up front so we can pre-emptively spend it on implementing measures to deal with it instead of trying to raise the funds after it becomes a problem?

    These measures could also incentivise British industry and entrepreneurs to use/create/invent the ethically and ecologically sound products and services and indeed the model needed for a sustainable future. These can then be exported to other countries and fuel a greener more profitable British economy.

    Tax what’s bad and incentivise what’s good. It’s a stance that’s hard to argue with, and shows you are leading by example.

  40. Richard Spurr says:

    ( posted this here as well as in Civil liberties, as the example given connects to the NERC act )

    The wishes of the many do not outweigh the rights of the few.

    It is the responsibility of Government to protect the rights of the few, those who are not big enough in number or influence to persuade the majority to support their case.

    Grand words, but they also apply at a more trivial level… after all, it’s often the little things in life that make all the difference to people’s quality of life and feeling of wellbeing. Here’s an example…

    There has always been a minority of people who enjoy driving or riding through our countryside – what is often (incorrectly) called “off-road”.

    However, over the past few years, under the current Nanny State we seem to live in, there has been a reclassification of many traditional rights of way to stop them being used for motorised traffic.

    The sad thing is that the reason often given by local councils for banning motor vehicles from a public route they have been using for years is “youngsters tearing up the lane on motorbikes”. The fact that the law has always stated that the use of a right of way is like a normal road – you need an insured roadworthy taxed vehicle and need to be qualified to drive (over 17 for most vehicles) – seems to be lost on the councils. That is, the stated “problem” can be tackled by applying the existing law, there’s no need to change the classification. Think about it, if the “problem” is being caused by people who are already breaking many laws, how much notice are they going to take of the right of way being reclassified?

    Maybe the council are going for the easy option (ban everything instead of tackling the real problem), or maybe the stated “problem” is an excuse to take away a traditional right they don’t approve of. Whatever the real reason, the only people who really suffer are the minority of law-abiding citizens who had for years been enjoying a pastime that is now becoming increasingly outlawed.

    Many reading this with think “who cares”. But, remember, most of us have minority interests – tomorrow it may be your hobby that’s no longer deemed by the do-gooders as politically correct!

    The really annoying aspect of all of this is the lies. Especially the way a “problem” (youths on motorbikes in this example) is miss-sold by pressure groups, the authorities and other vested interests as the reason for “having” to do something.

    For me this example seems to be typical of the Nanny State we have sleep-walked into. The attitude of our previous Government seems to of been to try and fix every social problem with yet another law or ruling on this that or the other.

    We all have a duty to try and be a little more tolerant of each others rights & needs. I don’t like fox hunting, but I don’t think it should have been banned. I’ve never smoked, but I don’t approve of the way the smoking ban has been implemented. Why, because these things, however unpopular with many, are up to each individual to decide on. Ask yourself: Is that thing someone else is doing really that much of a problem? The best person to decide what’s right for a given person is that person themselves, not some “expert” or central quango.

    So, I would like to see this new Government redress the balance and make sure our rights, however unimportant they seem to many, are taken into consideration when legislating or enforcing the law.

    At the very least, I would like to see changes made so that individuals are able to force Government, councils, etc. to provide independent evidence & opinion to support the specific reason they give for new legislation or rulings.

  41. John Bland says:

    There is no moral justification for the ban on fox hunting neither is there any sound practical reason for the ban.

    We constantly exploit animals for our comfort and pleasure and until society reviews all such activities using the same moral and emotional parameters that were focused on the issue of fox hunting then it is clearly morally flaccid to focus such outrage and legislative power on this one activity.

    Foxes are vermin and need to be controlled and the urban myth of the cute fox has recently been exploded in the most unfortunate of circumstances. Let us repeal this absurd act.

  42. Margaret says:

    How about making it compulsory that all dogs out for walkies in residential areas MUST be kept on a lead at all times. I for one would feel much safer walking the street. If anything is dangerous it’s a dog on the loose.

    As for hunting. Do MPs really think that killing an odd fox here and there at a weekend hunt is going to solve an overpopulation of foxes in the countryside, of course not. Its just a pass time for those who like blood sports. How come people residing in the suburbs can just get on living with wildlife without too much fuss. If some kind of control must happen then it MUST be done humanely I really don’t think the general public could stomach barbaric sports being brought back.

    What sort of message does hunting send out? That its ok to send a pack of dogs out to hunt something down and kill it. Don’t we have enough problems already with dog attacks in our society today.