East Midlands Greens call for Owen Paterson to be sacked

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Greens in the East Midlands have added their voice to the growing call for the Prime Minister to sack Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.  They cite a string of failures which demonstrate his inability to fulfil his role as head of the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), where his job is to ‘improve the environment and safeguard animal and plant health’ [1].

Cataloguing what they claim to be his failures, the Greens list the failure of the Badger Cull to have any impact on bovine TB, his ‘incredible complacency’ over climate change, his support for fracking in rural areas and his inability to respond to the widespread flooding  across the country.

Kat Boettge, the Greens lead European candidate in the European Elections this May said, ‘We seriously need an Environment Minister who understands science.  Paterson totally rejected the clear scientific advice on badger culling, which said that culling could make things worse, wasted millions of pounds of public money, and still he wants to roll this failed policy out across the country, including across the East Midlands.’

Speaking about Climate Change, Ms Boettge revealed that  Defra will spend just £17.2m on domestic ‘climate change initiatives’ this financial year, a 41 per cent decline on the previous 12 months [2].  ‘97% of scientists and a growing number of economists are saying that this is the greatest threat facing human civilisation.  Yet here we have a minister who is denying science, and saying that he wants to see fracking ‘all over rural parts of the UK.’ [3]

The final straw for the Greens was the Environment Secretary’s abortive visit to communities in flood-hit Somerset in which he spoke to the cameras but ignored local people affected by the floods [4].

‘Flooding is a big risk to 40% of the Trent Valley, we need effective and well maintained flood defences and water management in out region, the Governments own advisers have said that flooding is the biggest threat we face as a result of climate change yet what does this Government and its Environment Minister do?  Cut the budget of the Environment Agency by over half a billion pounds, and lay off 1700 staff.

‘Paterson seems to have no idea what the environment means or what it means to be the minister for it. People may view his comments about badgers ‘moving goalposts’ or anti-fracking campaigners winning the arguments because of their ‘exciting clothes and banners’ as the lines of a stand-up comic. Well, perhaps he would do better as a comedian than Environment Secretary because these issues are far from a laughing matter.’

ENDS

Notes

[1] Defra website: what we do: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs

[2] Guardian: Owen Paterson angers locals on visit to flooded Somerset Levels

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/27/owen-paterson-angers-locals-visit-flooded-somerset-levels

[3] Western Morning News: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Owen-Paterson-wants-fracking-8216-rural-parts-UK/story-20513681-detail/story.html#ixzz2rsOgRtRa

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/27/owen-paterson-angers-locals-visit-flooded-somerset-levels

Note: Paterson’s suggestion of an unspecified plan to deal with the floods was immediately overruled by the Prime Minister’s call for dredging as soon as practicable. This indicates a total lack of confidence in Paterson’s handling of the issue. His calling in of the army, for which local people could find no use, was similarly misguided.

Contact details:

Kat Boettge:  07983473162

Mike Shipley:  07791640971

http://eastmidlands.greenparty.org.uk/

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