By Yuri Prasad
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Tories are planning for a new devastating assault on nature

This article is over 1 years, 6 months old
Several groups and charities raged this week after the Tories revealed plans to rip up protections on nature
Issue 2824
RSPB bird Tories

The Tories want to leave nature unprotected

The government is facing a storm of protests from countryside and wildlife lovers after an “attack on nature” planted in last week’s mini-budget. The Tories announced a major change to environment policy— a proposal for 38 investment zones where they will suspend normal planning laws that protect rural areas.

And, they have hinted at another—scraping subsidies for landowners’ environmental work such as tree planting and peatland restoration. The Treasury says the zones will “drive growth and unlock housing development” by “releasing more land”.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is one of many wildlife organisations that are furious about the proposals. “From Cornwall to Cumbria, Norfolk to Nottingham wildlife is facing one of the greatest threats it’s faced in decades,” it said.

“If they carry out their plans nowhere will be safe… anything could be built anywhere.” The RSPB says it will not allow this to happen and it is planning a “mass mobilisation of our members and supporters”. 

Rumoured changes to subsidy arrangements are also causing fury as campaigners accuse the government of caving in to the agribusiness lobby. It is causing serious divisions inside the Tory party.

When environment minister, Michael Gove tried to present the party as caring for Britain’s “natural heritage” as part of a nationalist vision.  He managed to co-opt major wildlife organisations with his compromise with big farmers and landowners.

That offered some of what the pressure groups wanted, but fundamentally allowed the rich to carry on dictating how most of Britain’s land is used. Now, Liz Truss’s gang has shattered that alliance and they are on the rampage.

The housing crisis hitting working class people won’t be helped by their plans to build large semi-detached houses on former wildlife habitats. The changes will, however, generate huge profits. For millions of people, the countryside and nature are treasured parts of their life that they will not give up without a fight.

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