On the 9th December there was an important Rally for Nature day in London. You can read more about it here on Mark Avery's blog. It was a school day and I had exams, so I couldn't go, but I did write to my local MP, Stephen O'Brien, inviting him to attend the day. In my invite to him, I told him how concerned I was about wildlife crime and in particular raptor persecution.
I am very grateful for the reply from Mr O'Brien that I received yesterday, and must say thank you to him for taking the time to respond. An image of the letter is below. If you click on the picture it does get bigger.
Whilst reading the letter I discovered a couple points that I'd like to pick up on. Mr O'Brien says that £7.5 million has been provided for 12 Nature Improvement Areas. I will need to do more research to find out what all of these are, but 12 across the country doesn't sound like many, especially with all the frightening declines we are seeing across our wildlife species. I would like to see more protection now to help numbers increase in the future.
Another point I picked up on was the fact that a million trees are being planted in towns and cities, and 20,000 acres of woodland have been created. But this doesn't mean anything unless you work out how much woodland has been lost (something else I will need to research a bit more). And the new areas of woodland do not replace the lost ancient woodlands of established habitat. It will take years and years and years before any newly planted woodland establishes itself as real habitat for our wildlife.
A final point and a big issue for me is that £500,000 of funding was announced for National Wildlife Crime Unit till March 2016. Firstly this amount (about the cost of a large house) will not go far, although it is a good start, however with the next general election coming up in May, how secure is this funding if the government changes.
I am really grateful to Mr O'Brien for his reply and it might be good that it actually makes me ask even more questions and doesn't make me think, oh well, that's okay then. I know that politicians have a lot of decisions to make and that wildlife is just one of those decisions, but the natural world provides us with almost everything we need every day, so it has to be looked after and it should come first.