How the coalition is stopping the reintroduction of wildlife

The infrastructure bill seeks to reclassify extinct species as non-native, and prevent them from returning.

The European beaver, once native to the UK, would be subject to potential eradication measures under the infrastructure bill

Can any more destructive and regressive measures be crammed into one piece of legislation? Already, the infrastructure bill, which, as time goes by, has ever less to do with infrastructure, looks like one of those US monstrosities into which a random collection of demands by corporate lobbyists are shoved, in the hope that no one notices.

So far it contains (or is due to contain) the following assaults on civilisation and the natural world:

• It exempts fracking companies from the trespass laws.

• It brings in a legal requirement for the government to maximise the economic recovery of petroleum from the UK’s continental shelf. This is directly at odds with another legal requirement – to minimise the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

It abandons the government’s commitment to make all new homes zero-carbon by 2016.

• It introduces the possibility (through clauses 21 and 22) of a backdoor route to selling off the public forest estate. When this was attempted before, it was thwarted by massive public protest.

• It further deregulates the town and country planning system, making life even harder for those who wish to protect natural beauty and public amenities.

• It promotes new road building, even though the total volume of road traffic has flatlined since 2002.

Enough vandalism? Not at all.There’s yet another clause aimed at suppressing the natural world, which has, so far, scarcely been discussed outside parliament.

If the infrastructure bill is passed in its current state, any animal species that “is not ordinarily resident in, or a regular visitor to, Great Britain in a wild state” will be classified as non-native and subject to potential “eradication or control”. What this is doing in an infrastructure bill is anyone’s guess.

Read full article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2014/jul/21/infrastructure-bill-stopping-reintroduction-wildlife-uk

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