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 The TAC Response To The Discussion Document - Natural Environment

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Richard Crimp

Male Posts : 1875
Join date : 2010-01-20
Age : 52
Location : London

PostSubject: The TAC Response To The Discussion Document - Natural Environment   Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:35 pm


Thames Anglers Conservancy
P.O. Box 863

Richard Anthony Crimp (Secretary)

30th October 2010

Natural Environment White Paper Team
Area 3D, Nobel House
17 Smith Square

Dear Sirs,

Natural Environment

The Thames Anglers Conservancy (TAC) is an organisation representing anglers throughout the Thames Tideway and the non-tidal river from Teddington Lock upstream to Staines. As a concerned stakeholder in all initiatives regarding the River Thames we would like to present our view point on behalf of the TAC and its membership in its entirety. This should be viewed as a separate document to our affiliate organisations, such as Angling Trust etc.

Firstly, we as anglers of the Thames, would like to welcome Defra’s Discussion Document concerning the Natural Environment, and would also wish to point out that, through awareness and education, the responsibility for the positive improvement of our relationship with the environment will come from all Govt. Depts. and not just through Defra. Without a broad brush approach the intention of the White Paper will struggle to fulfil the requirement.

The Aquatic Environment is often grossly disregarded in many local and national ‘strategies’, and whilst it is the TAC’s purpose to highlight this issue within this document, it is also our intention to promote the services anglers currently provide for the benefit of the environment, as well as the vision to enable others to see the potential that is currently untapped within the angling communities.

The health of the environment and the recovery of the economy have to be twinned to ensure a lasting prosperity to the UK and internationally.

Question 1 – What do we need to do to embed the true value of our natural resources in decision making at all levels?

It is absolutely vital that all stakeholders, including angling organisations, are consulted on a local level - and not just nationally through Defra for example - for the betterment of the local natural aquatic resources and to enhance their future development with conservation and recreation in mind. Local Councils need to engage with recreational user groups, as well as other concerned groups, to ensure that, any decisions made, have the views of the whole community invested within them, and not just a select few.

Websites (such as Defra’s) should be set up by Councils on a local level to consult regarding all local projects, giving the opportunity for all those wishing to assist the chance to engage and broaden the scope and potential of our natural resources, as well as to offer their services in the development where appropriate/necessary. Far too often, such projects are planned and then grown without the involvement of recreational stakeholders (and other groups) to the detriment of any use to the majority of the local people.

“We now have the opportunity to be the generation that finally puts a stop to the piecemeal degradation of our natural environment and, instead, seeks active opportunities to enhance its value.”

It is absolutely amazing that the link between angling and aquatic environmental conservation isn’t fully employed nationwide by all the agencies ultimately responsible for its welfare. This largely unused tool of assistance would see (many more) thousands of local anglers, country-wide, assisting with many local projects, to help in a physical and strategic manner as befitting the local need.
Many angling organisations are ill-considered by such agencies during the planning stages of the vast majority of future developments, and this leads to confusion, disaffection and effectively creates a situation where many opportunities are missed, as it is only once any particular project is beyond the initial stages of consultation that angling organisations become involved by default, and effectively, it has then become an opportunity missed.
Local Councils very often consider angling to be of little concern, in many regards, but would be best reminded that the opportunities that are opened to many sections of society, through angling, are numerous and incredibly beneficial to their local communities. This will lead to greater involvement of many ‘deprived’ areas of the community, through angling, which will in turn lead to a sustainable recovery of local economies and environmental concerns in a holistic sense.

“Green spaces are associated with better health regardless of socio-economic status, for every 10% increase in local green space there can be a measurable reduction in health complaints within the community (equivalent to a five year reduction in the average age)7. Increasing access to the natural environment can provide both mental and physical health benefits. Evidence from the Natural England /Department of Health Walking for Health scheme suggests that for every £1 invested in the scheme, £7 worth of health benefit is delivered.”

This could be argued to be no different, or even bettered, by the opportunities created for communities through angling. The lack of access and parking are just two small areas that are largely being overlooked on a local level, and much that is planned and built does not take into consideration the associated benefits created through maintaining, or re-establishing, recreational facilities alongside many new developments. Such opportunities provide an invaluable resource for local communities, from reducing youth crime, providing opportunities for the disabled and OAP’s, assisting those with mental health problems etc. and generally bringing communities closer to their natural environment.

It is through ‘joined up’ planning and legislation that the concerned parties will eventually reap tremendous benefit from local communities, for local communities. Through such connected chains of engagement, the 3rd Sector way (‘The Big Society’), will then truly have established itself as the model that allows all those wishing to take responsibility in their local communities to do so. Local aquatic ecosystems will benefit greatly with the involvement of anglers and it should be incumbent upon Local Authorities to engage with angling groups to the fullest extent possible, for the benefit of the local environment.

“Of course, we will need to deliver on our ambitions for the natural environment within the context of our primary aim to reduce the deficit, and reflecting the Government’s plans for reducing regulatory burdens including introducing a one-in-one-out system for new regulations. We will need to seek new innovative ways of working to achieve the outcomes we need.”

Taking into consideration the excerpt above, the TAC would like for the Dept. to strongly consider its position concerning Hydropower and its serious limitations in terms of enhancing the value of green energy resources to the nation at large. The resource has little value in terms of providing renewable energy - less than 0.5% of the national requirement and this at its top-most level of consent - and is little more than a ‘pseudo green by-product’ that will have serious implications to the aquatic environment concerning the vast majority of projected schemes countrywide. This isn’t to say, however, that a small percentage of Hydropower schemes will not be of benefit to a very few local communities.

The cost to the Govt./Tax Payer should also be of strong consideration when such Hydropower schemes are considered at the point of application, as the cost of such schemes should be viewed as prohibitive to the purse strings of England and Wales, albeit that they are considerably cheaper than many other ‘invasive’ forms of ‘so called’ greener energy supplies (such as wind power). Before such renewable energy resources are considered to be the panacea for all of the UK’s energy needs, serious consideration needs to be considered of the detrimental effect on the aquatic environment in regards to Hydropower. Rather surprisingly, it appears that nuclear energy providers will supply the most cost effective and greenest form of energy on a national level, providing waste treatments are effective for the long-term.

The Dept. must also consider the debilitating effect climate change will have on the ability for Hydropower to fulfil its potential through reduced river flows, greater abstraction etc. and all in all, Hydropower begins to look like ‘pig in a poke’.

a. How can we reflect all the different kinds of value described above?

Much will depend on the local Councils being fully supportive of the ‘Big Society’, providing the local communities with the conduit to engage through consultation, and the opportunity to assist in meaningful projects that affect them on a day-to-day basis. The local community resource is seriously underestimated by many Councils and the value of the community’s true worth would be greatly assisted through Govt. & Councils providing the vision of the ‘Big Society’ in clear and plain language.

The Civil Society needs to be fully engaged and utilised for the ‘Big Society’ to actualise its ambition. Without full local engagement it fails, and we end up with ‘more of the same’, and a case of the ‘emperor’s new clothes’.

Question 2 – Have we identified the right overarching challenges for the White Paper to consider?
Climate Change, Demographic Changes & the Incremental Impact of change

As a brief on the overarching challenges we all face, and considering the broad generality of the Discussion Paper, I believe it could be said to encompass all topics.

a. If not, what should we focus on?

There are many points of focus that a Discussion Document could highlight, however, from the TAC’s perspective it would be remiss of us not to point out that anglers view this as an opportunity to establish the fact that angling has a big role to play in the preservation, enhancement and conservation of the UK’s waterways. This would naturally dovetail with the intention of the White Paper/Big Society and see the angling community invest and assist in many regards, in accord with the transformation of our local communities to shape our collective futures.

It is in anglings interests to ensure that we all have good quality water resources available, but this has to be achieved with the aquatic environment in mind, lest the further and heightened level of works to be carried out in the future – in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive – should fail in its objectives, and see further expense incurred upon the nation through the failure to achieve the minimum standard of good ecological status within the timeframe agreed.

b. How should we approach these challenges?

The challenge we are all facing is considerable. In regards to the inland aquatic environment, the pressures that are being placed on our rivers at this current time are immense. Current legislation does not mitigate the ‘tipping of the balance’, to the detriment of the structure of our waterways as a natural resource now, today, and the demographic changes that are to come about will see the responsibility of those owning the Water Utilities increase many fold. It will need robust policy to reflect not only our current needs for sustainable and adequate structures to be put in place, but will also need to set a standard for the next 40 years to ensure a balanced aquatic environment that considers all facets of our natural environment for today and the future, a sustainable future.

Get this right now, during the current Govt’s tenure, and you have created the platform for the future. Get it wrong, and legislate without creating an even stronger statute book to face the forthcoming challenges head on, and the future enhancements of a balanced environment will never occur, leaving a legacy of failure. Currently so much of the natural resource is wasted through ill-maintenance and inadequate development (leaking pipes, inability to deal with excess rain water etc.), and legislation needs to ensure that the Water Companies are brought ‘on board’, and fully realise their responsibility to the environment in a constructive manner, which should be of a higher value, but, not excluding profit. The waste and mismanagement of our aquatic environment is quite horrific and many incidents of pollution, as just one example, would testify to that statement without the TAC having to clarify such points.

The Dept. needs to realise that it is the guiding hand in this regard and legislate accordingly. It needs to be quite clear within its remit, constructive and committed in its ideology, and unbowed in its principles, as is the overriding intention of the Discussion Document leading to the White Paper. That being so, it needs to create a Blue Print, platforms if you like, at all levels, by which all parties can express their points of view with equality and it needs a back bone of conviction to ensure a sustainable future through constructive policies that enable the participants on a local level to deliver on the White Paper’s ambitions.

Question 3 – What are the existing policies and practices aimed at protecting England’s natural assets (including but not limited to those set out above on our biodiversity, seas, water bodies, air and soil) that currently work most effectively?

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) work extremely well by and large, only once again, this does tend to vary in accordance with those entrusted with their management. Far too often individual opinion tends to cloud the judgement of those entrusted with collective management of such projects leading to a lack of engagement on a number of issues, not least angling issues. Once again, the TAC would like to highlight the potential that is currently locked within the angling community that is not being utilised by those groups that should share an equal responsibility regarding the long term biodiversity of SSSIs, as one example.

a. What works less well – what could we stop doing or do differently?

Whilst the TAC acknowledges the need for the otter populations to be protected, and under no circumstances contradict ‘their’ right to existing in the UK, to have arbitrarily re-introduced them without due consideration of the environment they were being released into, was naive beyond reason. Very little is being done concerning the feasibility of the enhancement/re-introduction of the otter and the subsequent impact upon many environments remains a recipe for disaster, not only for fisheries on a local basis in heavily affected areas, but for the otters themselves. Recent anecdotal evidence of dog otters killing each other concerning territorial issues is just one example where release programmes are ill thought out, for example.

Since the decline of the otter in post war Britain, much has changed and the re-introduction has unfortunately led to many problems within many aquatic environments and is destabilising many local ecosystems and many local businesses, such as privately run fisheries. There needs to be safeguards to protect aquatic environments and businesses, as well as the otters, which are causing irreversible damage to a number of communities nationally.

Question 4 – What mechanisms should we focus on to ensure we manage our natural systems more effectively in future?

Whilst the TAC acknowledges the need for business and conservation to form a balanced partnership to forge new paths to lead to a successful future for our natural environment, it is nevertheless astounding the amount of neglect that appears in the statute to protect such environments? Chemicals and phosphates, for example, in simple washing products cause immense environmental problems within aquatic environments, why are they allowed to be manufactured containing such harmful by-products? Baffling to say the least? Simple changes in legislation to guide and steer industry would effectively wipe out a part of the problem facing our aquatic environment in this instance alone.

a. How should we define success?

Lasting, effective and tangible change that has substance and support in the vast arena of the majority of conservation groups. If you fail to put the meat on the bones of your good intentions under the banner of the ‘Natural Environment’, this Govt. will be remembered for failing the environment at its most critical hour. The opportunity to steer towards the correct course is one that has to be made now, please do not miss the opportunity through a lack of balls, the choice is ours! Please help us make the correct choice...

b. How can we agree on common goals and assess our progress towards them?

The targets need to be outcome based and focused on integrated/holistic goals. It would be the Govt. that would provide the tools and the choices for the communities to coordinate collaborative results that will be for the betterment of the whole, and not imbalanced in favour of one group or another.
With that in mind, please do not allow this Govt. to bind itself with bureaucracy and paperwork. It is not very difficult to gauge the mood of the ‘active population’ in such regards, as long as the ‘Big Society’ functions, those groups concerned will be openly exhorting its contentment or otherwise (in regards to the progress) through local forums. Papers such as this one regarding local concerns, through local Councils, will aid the local communities and effectively this Govt. no end in assessing the development of the collective will of the people of any given area and on a national basis.
Also, when the TAC stop writing such damning criticism concerning the way our rivers and sport are being treated, rest assured, the environment WILL be in a much better place! We need to ensure that biodiversity is considered through an integrated approach on a national, and ever increasingly necessary, locally-led level.

Question 5 – How best can we reduce our footprint on the natural environment abroad, through the goods, services and products we use?

The mindset of the UK has to be given a sharp dose of reality, goods that are traded between nations are, in some instances, beyond sustainable means and our national policy has to reflect the ‘environmental hand’ in as much as it reflects the benefit afforded to many communities worldwide through the procurement of products, goods and services offered. This in an age where instant gratification has become the norm and the collective psyche of the nation expects the ‘exotic’ to be readily available and affordable to cater for our thirst for diversity, regardless of the impact that it has globally... at the expense of the ‘natural balance’.
In the early development of this Govt. it has displayed the strength of character to radically change our aspirations on a personal and collective level to reduce the financial deficit/burden that has been created by the Govts. of the last 30 years plus. The TAC would sincerely hope this brave and pragmatic approach will be applied across the board to redress the parlous state that the global environment is suffering, which will only lead to devastating consequences concerning the invaluable environmental resources on a worldwide scale unless a lead is taken by the ‘1st World’ Govts. – not least our own – to make lasting change for the better. It is incumbent upon us all to develop a 22nd Century philosophy (in this the 21st) to ensure our children’s children have the opportunity to live in a world that functions harmoniously with the planet which supports us. To do anything less will see this generation consigned to annals of history as the destroyers of the natural balance on the planet Earth. This isn’t a melodramatic statement it is a vivid and tangible fact...

Question 6 – What best practice and innovative approaches to protecting and enhancing our natural environment do you think should be considered as we develop the White Paper?

For those of us directly concerned with the aquatic environment, we would strongly recommend the correlation between the need for renewable energies allied with the Water Framework Directive (WFD) for example.
It is patently obvious that the use of Hydropower has very little benefit to the countries need for renewable energy (as briefly highlighted in our answer to Q1 above), and if the WFD was adhered to in its intent, no Hydropower facilities could be built considering the correct application of the WFD. Please reconsider the parameters for the granting of applications concerning Hydropower, as the vast majority of these projects are little more than pseudo green renewable energy resources that compromise the aquatic environment, and Defra’s apparent need to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ in this respect is galling to say the least.

The TAC is developing a close working relationship to the Environment Agency, as well as many other local stakeholders, and this can only bode well for the future of the River Thames in terms of sustainable and lasting management programmes that place conservation at the heart of such affiliations through monitoring operations that give the EA another early indicator of developing poluution problems etc.

Question 7 – How best can we harness and build on public enthusiasm for the natural environment so people can help improve it through local action, as informed consumers or by shaping policy?

The TAC would once again like to reiterate the underused resource of the angling communities, which is primarily caused through a sense of disenfranchisement among the entire community, through a neglect of that resource over the last 30 years plus, FACT!
The Angling Trust has recently communicated its willingness to assist post the changes made within the Environment Agency concerning the removal of the Statutory Advisory Committees, and the opportunity is there for this Govt. to utilise the resource that is ready, willing and available to help. There needs to be a transparency and openness within the Agency to ensure that angling’s contribution through the licence fee is accounted for, so that anglers can have their say in how that money is spent and this will lead to an increase of availability of the voluntary resources available within the angling community. The ‘Big Society’ at work...

Question 8 – What should be our vision for the role of Civil Society in managing and enhancing the natural environment and for engaging individuals, businesses and communities in setting the agenda for that work?

‘Vision’ has a pre-emptive ‘feel’ and it will take a strength beyond ‘vision and words’ to assist a truly ‘Civil Society’.
It will need strong guidance concerning clear objectives on a local level, as what may be appropriate in one area of the UK, will almost definitely be different in another area. That said, all too often ‘Civil Societies’ are found competing against one another, ending up with a disgruntled disarray of confused, directionless and subjective counter-points that achieve very little on a local basis through mistrust and entrenchment of factionalised groups.
‘Civil Society’ will need forums for local communities, businesses etc. to engage most definitely alongside local Councils and they will need to form clear and rational objectives to achieve the greater good for those communities on a local basis and arbitration from an external source would undoubtedly be invaluable.
Along the banks of the entire River Thames there are angling clubs, riparian owners etc, that integrate with the EA on a local level and their input to management of the river system should be enhanced to ensure that the future of this ‘world renowned resource’ is safeguarded for future generations. Angling Trust Thames Regional Forum is one avenue of direct influence that needs to be embraced by all concerned Depts.

Question 9 – How best can Government incentivise innovative and effective action on the natural environment, across England, at the local level?

As briefly suggested in the document so far, there will need to be access to forums on a local basis to engage the respective areas of the community to achieve and activate representation, without the opportunity to participate, the ‘Big Society’ becomes a contradiction in term.

“The Coalition Government has embarked on a radical programme of reform to free up local councils from top-down bureaucracy, and devolve responsibility to the local level.”

Taking the above as a typical quote from this Discussion Paper, for the concept of embracing the natural environment and harmonising that in real terms to 3rd Sector modelling, the Govt. has to be absolutely clear in its intent. The initial stages of “freeing up” local communities from top-down bureaucracy have to be handled responsibly, and not purely as an exercise in “deficit reduction”. Without clear and concise development structures conceptualised/initiated by the Govt. the ‘re-birth’ of the ‘Big Society’ becomes a damp squib relatively quickly and no amount of rhetoric will disguise that fact.

The aquatic environment needs to be managed with sustainability in mind, and its future needs a coherent strategy involving all the stakeholders to ensure that biodiversity is enhanced through a broadened knowledge base, which will naturally include angling communities as a vital link in their sustained development through initiatives such as the Water Framework Directive and the revamped Blueprint for Water.

a. How best can local Government and other local partners work together to improve local outcomes on the natural environment, and pursue a more integrated approach linking a healthy natural environment to economic prosperity, sustainable development and a better quality of life, health and wellbeing?

Lofty ideals to say the least, and whilst much of this paper detracts from Govt. involvement on a local basis, etc., it is nevertheless Govt. that will have to initiate the framework for this to even begin to find a foothold in the most relevant and needy areas. To incentivise an urban population to assist in this great wave of progressive responsibility/ownership of local communities will take more than words.
Post the second world war successive Govt’s. have taken more and more responsibility for the nations local communities and those self-same communities will in part view the concept of the ‘Big Society’ with an air of artifice.
Those that are ready and willing within those communities need to be stimulated and incentivised through early inclusion lest the opportunity wither on the vine. This will take courageous and inspirational leadership to genuinely realise, and the incumbent Coalition Govt. needs to find such vigour, which isn’t immediately apparent in truth.

b. What are the most effective mechanisms for managing the natural environment where cross-boundary issues are involved, and making the link to other mechanisms for economic growth, transport and planning?

Quite simply local communities form a part of a wider regional map, and bordering Councils, businesses, stakeholders etc. need to engage where necessary, to ensure continuity. Very often regional/local boundaries form prohibitive obstacles to further collective environmental objectives and these ‘boundaries/obstructions’ need to develop cooperatives to manage cross boarder issues, certainly regarding rivers that are often situated in many counties. Forums and websites will provide people with a knowledge of what is actually occurring in and around their local communities, and the Information Age has long been with us, and the use of electronic communications in a wide regard can be utilised to form the mechanics of assimilated growth and collective prosperity in all regards.

c. How best can the value of the natural environment be considered within local planning?

All due consideration of the natural environment should be considered by local Councils in regards to the potential that surrounds any given development regardless of its size and magnitude. So much opportunity is missed simply through a lack of knowledge and vision that, remains on the periphery of planning issues at an early and formative time, and far greater involvement among the local denizens should see many more successful advancements concerning the local environment and a greater benefit to the local communities should occur through broader engagement. If people within local communities are involved to a greater extent in the day-to-day running of their communities, then the sense of ownership will reinvigorate those communities to ensure success in the conservation and utilisation of the natural environment to the best possible extent through an affiliation of involvement.
Naturally the water resource has many current pressures placed upon it through abstraction, climate change and waste services, all planning needs to consider the impact that further environmental and demographic changes will bring to our natural aquatic resources in the future.

Question 10 – How best could the economy reflect the true value of nature’s services in the way business is done, to drive smarter, greener growth?

This is an issue of awareness, and in all honesty a large section of the business community does not have the natural environment on their radar when considering future developments, which has lead to many ecological disasters in the past. All so unnecessary, as there is fantastic reward to be gained if lateral environmental views are considered, the opportunities are manifold and all that is lacking is the vision.
The White Paper that grows from the various Discussion Papers presented to Defra needs to be expansive and imaginative, it needs to daringly challenge all concerned parties to alter their thinking radically, as anything less will not create an impetus to drive the necessary change to alter the perceptions of all sections of the local communities to make change happen. Without applied growth and the participation of many concerned local businesses, stakeholders etc. the ‘Big Society’ fails.
Financial incentives concerning environmentally sustainable businesses is going to be paramount to the success of the White Paper, as well as, appropriate measures to ensure that those that have a detrimental impact on the environment pay for environmental indiscretions, such as those that pollute rivers etc.

Question 11 – Responsible businesses are already looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. How can we encourage more action like this?

There is a massive opportunity to phase in ‘best environmental practice’ through financial legislation. Reward those that do things correctly and punish those that don’t, as there is nothing like the pocket to incentivise people where it often matters most!

Question 12 – What are the barriers to joining up and seeking multiple benefits from our natural assets?

In many regards it will be the disenfranchisement of the local communities over the last 50 years that will create the biggest barrier in the greater community joining up. Angling has seen a dramatic decline in the opportunities to fish in urban environments (for example) due to many differing reasons, not least the privatisation of many once accessible areas, plus the perception of the sport having altered in that time.
So in regards to our waterways etc. the TAC would advocate a greater involvement of angling organisations on a local basis to ensure the conservation of the aquatic environment, in addition to giving the local communities access to angling projects for the social benefit of those communities, and most importantly bringing the millions of anglers back to the table to enable participation on a local level for the benefit of the whole community.
For anglers, the health of the aquatic environment is absolutely pivotal for the enhancement of their sport first and foremost, additionally, and by no means of any less importance the health of the associated flora and fauna is of vital regard in maintaining balanced and robust ecosystems on a local basis and anglers can assist to a massive extent in the preservation and enhancement of the aquatic environment.

Question 13 – What are the barriers to thinking big and taking a landscape scale approach to managing our natural assets?

Many sections of the community fail to understand the connectivity of land, water and air, the integration between all parts of an ecosystem, and how we are best served preserving these whilst expanding nature’s services for the benefit of all.
The TAC would suggest that the development and conservation of the natural environment has been somewhat contradicted in recent decades and that an appreciation of our natural assets has decreased among the population in general to the detriment of a ‘natural concept’ and development among many depts. of Govt.
This needs an holistic approach within Govt, and strategies need to be formed to mitigate the decades of soil erosion, the contamination of land and aquatic resources, the over fishing of our coastline, the mismanagement in terms of initiating renewable energy resources etc.
Considering that many of our institutions are situated within urban conurbations it would seem ‘natural’ that, the concept of a ‘landscape scale approach’ would be alien to many students in many relevant fields of development that directly affect our natural world, and all too often ‘projects’ lack synergy and sympathy to the environment that surrounds it, on many levels at this current juncture in time. A collective approach to ensuring the ‘profitable’ and sustainable future of our natural environment is a long time in coming, please make sure the vision and the incentive is provided today.

The TAC would suggest that educational institutions begin to assimilate the natural environment within much of the curriculum (as appropriate) and that the potential of a balanced and sustainable development is allied to the natural environment to ensure future generations understand what those of recent times have barely begun to understand.

For a landscape scale approach to managing our natural assets to be successful it will need a strong and tactile approach from the relevant Govt. Depts. to ensure the mantle is lifted in as many areas of society as is possible, as quickly as possible. The challenges are already before us, and without the ‘many’ becoming aware of those challenges (with the help of civil society, business etc.) and furthermore being given the opportunity to participate in encountering those challenges, our society will be all the poorer for it, and not least anglers and our natural environment.

Question 14 – What should be the priorities for the UK’s role in EU and international action, to protect and enhance the natural environment at home and abroad?

First and foremost a balance has to be quickly established within the UK concerning the enhancement of our natural environment, only then can we truly be seen to be taking a lead in the development of balancing our own natural assets toward the betterment of our own environmental protection in conjunction with building a platform for growing the natural economy, and not least in the recreational use of our environment in many regards. Well balanced recreational use of our natural assets brings much to our economy and teaches many the value of the natural environment which can only bode well for our future relationship with our environment.
This then allied with our EU partners and the international community to assist and legislate accordingly, to protect European and global environmental economies and ensure a sustainable yield for the foreseeable future, within a symbiotic framework that enforces good practice to ensure societal development within an environmentally aware matrix. It is only through conceptual collaboration among a broad number of nations that a true path of environmental protection and enhancement can be achieved.

It is, however, vital that we get our own house in order as soon as is possible, the next decade will be pivotal in the destiny of our natural environment.

Question 15 – If you could choose just one priority action for the Natural Environment White Paper to drive forward locally, nationally or internationally – what would it be?

Enforce the EU’s Water Framework Directive to ensure the protection of our aquatic environment. Do not compromise on the need to protect our water from the pressures that will continue to grow on a daily basis, through climate change, demographic shift etc.

The water companies of the UK have a lot to answer for and far too much of their emphasis is placed on profit at the expense of the aquatic environment. The consumer pays disproportionately for the improvements that are being made and it is long overdue for the water companies to match that commitment with its own resources to ensure that waste and profligacy are a thing of the past. The incidents of pollution are barely tackled by the authorities and to many of those directly affected by such incidents, it appears as though the water utilities have a ‘get out of jail free card’, which leads to a lack of incentive to engender structural change from within.

The Govt. Dept’s. are equally to blame for this disgraceful situation simply due to poor legislation which has existed since the privatisation of those water utilities in the late 80’s. Stop ‘talking’ about enhancing our natural assets Defra and start legislating to make positive change. It is no good encouraging companies to adopt ‘best practice’ with a softly, softly approach please legislate, to make sure they do!

To give TAC members further insight into this consultation, please click on the following link which will take you to the relevant section of the DEFRA Website
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Steve Holmes

Posts : 2435
Join date : 2010-01-28

PostSubject: Re: The TAC Response To The Discussion Document - Natural Environment   Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:47 pm

Rich, just read all that. A very credible representation that reflects well on us.

What you're doing for TAC might seem far removed from most member's fishing but if TAC is to be a force in keeping our fishing how we want it, I reckon what you're doing is vital.

Particularly liked how you hammered home your 2 main points - local action/involvement and using the untapped resource of anglers. I hope they get those messages.

Have one of these mate cheers
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Richard Crimp

Male Posts : 1875
Join date : 2010-01-20
Age : 52
Location : London

PostSubject: Re: The TAC Response To The Discussion Document - Natural Environment   Sun Oct 31, 2010 8:43 pm

Steve, thanks mate, but I will truthully tell you this, the Big Society has about as much chance of happening in my life time as the second coming! The reason we have to participate is to keep throwing our tuppence in the round, if we just say "nothing will change" and then not bother responding, then we may as well just chuck the towel in!

We have to keep knocking on the door - as an angling community in general - and trust that something sticks in the decision makers memory, that he or she must take into account our concerns as structures and legislation is formed.

Richard Cool
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