Futures Forum: Biodiversity
Futures Forum: Biodiversity in East Devon
Futures Forum: Biodiversity and offsetting nightingales
seems to be gaining ground:
Owen Paterson: I've planted trees so can't be accused of 'trashing' woodlandsOwen Paterson, the environment secretary, has said that he can't be accused of 'trashing' ancient woodlands because he planted an arboretum last year
11:53AM GMT 09 Jan 2014
The environment secretary has said that "trashing" ancient woodlands to make way for unwanted housing would be "absolute travesty" but admitted they could be bulldozed as a "last resort".
Owen Paterson said he was "personally" offended by the public backlash against him and said his role in planting an arboretum last year helped demonstrate his environmental credentials.
Mr Paterson has been strongly criticised by environmental campaigners after suggesting last week that developers could be allowed to build on centuries-old forests if they plant 100 times as many new trees elsewhere.
Mr Paterson said a form of “offsetting” could be used to enable forests dating back more than 400 years to be flattened for housing or transport projects.
However, yesterday in the Commons Mr Paterson insisted that planning protections for ancient woodlands will remain in place. He conceded, however, that "some assets are too precious" to built on, even as a last resort.
Defra says planning process no threat to ancient trees after Paterson brings offsetting onto agenda | Horticulture Week
This has failed to assuage fears for woodlands in Devon:
Fears over the future of ancient Devon woodlands | Exeter Express and Echo
Can't simply replace trees | North Devon Journal
Woodlands under threat | Plymouth Herald
Biodiversity offsetting - UK Parliament
Environmental Audit Committee - UK Parliament
Whilst some quarters are uncertain about the Environment Secretary's intentions:
... another Paterson classic in response to environmentalist fears that his “biodiversity offsetting” plan could mean replacement of ancient woodland. “As someone who has planted an arboretum over recent years, the idea that I am going to trash ancient woodlands is an absolute outrage to me personally,” he insisted. Apart from coming out as the first arbiculturalist cabinet minister since Michael Heseltine, Paterson will not have reassured doubters with this answer. It fails to see the wood for the trees.
Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Owen Paterson, Cruella de Vil of the environment - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
Futures Forum: If you have an expensive house near the sea, it’s time to sell
Other commentators doubt the whole premise of 'offsetting'. From yesterday's Guardian:
Biodiversity offsetting smacks of middle class environmentalism | Environment | theguardian.com