In a previous life, in a universe far far away, I trod the capitalist treadmill at a large investment bank, in the tiny and mostly loss making bit covering the Japanese stock market. Every now and then a grossly over-promoted hot shot from head office - wherever that happened to be - would pitch up to do a strategic review. In order to justify his bonus he would re-invent the Japanese equity product after a consultation period which involved flying around the world endlessly and falling asleep in presentations pretending to listen to people who knew better but were much less important. He would invariably come up with a staggeringly uninformed and glib solution which followed the dogma of the day but was so unworkable it turned into no solution at all - thank God - so most of us kept our jobs and things staggered on. Hot Shot was applauded for doing something and by the time people realized he had no idea about Japan other than what Narita Airport looked like (see above), he had made so much money he didn't care when he was fired.
I was unhappily reminded of this experience today while looking at the "Biodiversity, wildlife management, landscape, countryside and recreation" page of HMG's website,
"Red Tape Challenge".
This is what it says:
These regulations are designed to conserve vulnerable or rare species and habitats and protect important wildlife sites. They also include regulations on rights of way and protecting national parks.
You can find all 159 regulations that relate to biodiversity, wildlife management, landscape, countryside and recreation here .
Tell us what you think should happen to these regulations and why, being specific where possible:
Should they be scrapped altogether?
Can they be merged with existing regulations?
Can we simplify them – or reduce the bureaucracy associated with them?
Have you got any ideas to make these regulations better?
Do you think they should be left as they are?
Ironically we may need a rethink about environmental regulation; I've argued elsewhere
that our persistent failure to stop loss of biodiversity in the UK might mean we need a totally different approach. This is very clearly not, however, what is driving this exercise. Head Office has decided that something needs to be done, and whether it's in "landscape" or "recreation" doesn't really matter.