It has been a bad week at Habitat Aid's HQ. The spending axe has fallen - again - on renewables - which has effectively now halted the building of any solar farms not in the system from April 2016.
Solar site seeded last year.
I know this is good news for some folk, but we'd been doing a lot of work for a small number of responsible developers who had gone the extra mile to massively increase biodiversity on previously knackered farmland.
The subsidy system has clearly had its problems, but it has meant that a lot has been achieved. Arguably its biggest issue with solar was that it was too successful! The government seems to have been pretty quick on the trigger.
When someone like Neil Woodford, doyen of City fund managers, writes an open letter to government
about what's going on you might reasonably suspect a serious issue. Neil is certainly not a left wing anti-capitalist dictating the climate change agenda, which is how Amber Rudd has characterised opposition to her views.
The other depressing news this week is the temporary lifting of the ban on neonicotinoids
in East Anglia. The chemical involved is precisely the same one which has recently been linked to declines in bee populations in a large scale field trial.
Government has also portrayed this as a political issue. In fairness so have the environmentalists. For them the bad guys are large, well resourced anti-environment agribusinesses, served by their pro-business political servants. For government, the ban was imposed against their wishes and the NFU's advice by interfering EU bureaucrats.
The Press perpetuates this politicization. The BBC report I've linked to above quotes Paul de Zyla from Friends of the Earth, and Radio 4 interviewed someone from 38 Degrees. These are both left leaning lobbying groups*. At the other end of the political spectrum, the next time I hear Nigel Lawson talk about climate change (or lack therof) the radio is going out of the window.
Ditto the next time I hear any environmental policies justified by their benefit to the hard working families of Britain. Er... wouldn't "short term populism" be a bit more honest?
Left or right wing I'd say the same thing. Environmental issues should not be sacrificed on the altar of political dogma.
*To declare my interest, FoE are customers of ours.