2014 © Graham Rabbitts [You are welcome to use original material from this site, but the source should be acknowledged]


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This page existed in my last website. I have kept it here, but I am cautious. Perhaps I am becoming a Grumpy Old Man!

I do not like the Marine and Coastal Access Act. It is too big and too complicated. There is some good in it, but I fear the Law of Unintended Consequences. I am sure it is not good news for yotties. The idea of the Solent being run from Newcastle makes me shudder, much as I like Newcastle. The yachting community is very dependent on the vigilance and skill of the Royal Yachting Association to protect their interests. All active yachtsmen should be individual members to ensure that Government continues to pay attention to RYA comment and advice.

During the consultation about the Marine Act I expressed concern about the risk that the public could  be prosecuted for actions that they were unaware constituted an offence. I suggested that the designations structure was too complicated, and some form of envelope, perhaps called a Marine Protected Area could be used to simplify the presentation to the public. So far the MPA  has not evolved in that way. Follow the link  for more.

I remain suspicious of the whole environmental industry. Before new laws are introduced. all kinds of assurances are given. Afterwards, a kind of eco-creep sets in - SACs and SPAs extend their reach beyond boundaries, and to non-designated species for example. Then, when expected results are not achieved, more layers of regulation are added rather than fixing what exists. Finally, regulating often creates, by accident, an eco-tax gathering system. At May 2015, there is a frightening French example of this propensity to levy eco-taxes

It is easy to accuse the environment industry of seeking to confuse by flooding the public with information in numerous consultations. That is unfair, but Consultation Fatigue is a real, and seemingly endless, problem

One specific problem arises from our lack of knowledge concerning marine ecosystems. Where we do not know, we must apply the Precautionary approach. It is just too easy to misinterpret this as a requirement for scientific proof that no harm can ever occur - a practical impossibility. Eco-creep has meant that clarification of the way the Precautionary Approach should be applied that was hammered out in the 1990s, has been quietly abandoned.

I still regard designations as theft. After all if you take something away from another person, without asking. for your own benefit, and without compensation, what else can it be called? Virtually the whole of UK coastline is designated by one or another of the 42 environmental designations of which more than 12 are statutory. These are listed on the Designations page

What is not generally realised is just how much coastal activity contributes to the UK economy. In a report sponsored by the Crown estate titled “Socio-economic indicators of marine-related activities in the UK economy”, David Pugh attempted to measure this.

Now, after 10 years of retirement, I re-read Ian Mitchell’s book “Isles of the West”, and as a result have added the Eco-Bureaucracy page which summarises my scepticism and pessimism about the conservation industry that is largely self perpetuating for its own purposes.

But it is for people more energetic and younger than me to realise that Yes Minister! got it right, and to try and defend basic, simple freedoms. However, some of the source material that I used, which is fast disappearing into obscurity has been added to the site for future reference.

If you are confused about all the environmental designations, have a look at “Do you know your MCZ from your SAC?” which I first wrote as a blog for Solent Protection Society. The same page also contains links to the main government environmental agencies.

Over the years, I have had a peripheral involvement in climate change. My current views are expressed on the Climate change page.



Eco bureaucracy

Go for it!  >>Go for it!i  >>Go Top

Designation explained

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Climate Change

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Marine Protected Areas

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Consultation Fatigue

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Precautionary Approach

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