Barry Gardiner, new shadow minister for the natural environment, speaking at the Game & Wildlife Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group this week, set out some key aspects of the opposition's plans for future wildlife policy.
Barry Gardiner said, "We need to approach wildlife conservation at a landscape scale and with a whole ecosystem approach. This is important especially when some component parts of ecosystems are missing, for example where mono-cultures have been created."
But Mr Gardiner also acknowledged the importance of managing individual species, which he saw as "an integral part of habitat and landscape management."
Tom Oliver, Communications Director of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), welcomed the opposition's review of wildlife policy and the appointment of Barry Gardiner, who served as an environment minister in the last Labour administration.
"This is an excellent opportunity to establish common ground amongst all those who are concerned for our wildlife," Tom Oliver said.
"Farmers, game keepers, conservationists and the general public all care sincerely for our wild species. We need to recognise that there will be different motivations for conserving wildlife, and that commitment from all quarters will be vital if we are to succeed in helping many of our wild species recover," he continued.
Tom Oliver of GWCT observed that game management had been the only steady source of continual new lowland deciduous woodland and management over the last 20 years, helped by being independent of public funding.
Andrew Clark, Head of Policy Services at the National Farmers Union, also spoke at the meeting, emphasising the wide range of interests farmers have in addition to food production.
Andrew Clark said, "Farmers already demonstrate that they take responsibility for managing the countryside seriously. As an example the industry’s Campaign for the Farmed Environment has brought over 200,000ha of farmland into positive management in addition to that already entered into Environmental Stewardship. We need a managed countryside which maintains a balance of species and outcomes; the best way of guaranteeing this will be farms that are productive and profitable."
Barry Gardiner also commented positively on progress with some other aspects of wildlife policy. He welcomed the renewed commitment by the shooting community to ensure lead shot was not used inappropriately and said it was "absolutely right and absolutely good" that some moorland owners were using diversionary feeding to reduce the risk of predation by raptors. But he warned that failure to abide by the law would make regulation more likely in a future Labour administration.
Photocaption: Barry Gardiner MP (new shadow minister for the natural environment) speaking at the Game & Wildlife Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting, set out some key aspects of the opposition's plans for future wildlife policy. Pictured: from left: Ian Coghill, GWCT Chairman; the Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP, APPG Chairman; Barry Gardiner MP; Tom Oliver, GWCT director of Communications and Andrew Clark, Head of Policy Services at the National Farmers Union.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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