Austerity Countryside

I was reading an article in one of my gardening magazines at the start of the week about how “Big Society” could see gardeners banding together to care for their local parks and gardens.  To an extent this already happens in many areas with “friends of” groups and volunteers who give up a little time to care for their local open space, nature reserve or public park.  So I could see this happening, but I’m not sure that in reality the bulk of caring for such an area can be done by volunteers.  Have managed parks and nature reserves in my time, there is more to it.  There needs to be structure and planning which underpins any work, whether it is by paid staff or volunteers. 

So I can see in the longer term that our local green spaces will start to decline, cuts in budgets will mean those bodies that have a responsibility to look after them will be able to do less.  Potentially some may even choose an easier option of selling them for other means, e.g. development, resulting in their loss completely.

I then read an article in the Guardian “Plans to Sell off Nature Reserves Risk Austerity Countryside”, my heart sank.  Once again the ConDem Coalition seems intent on budget deficit reduction against all else, with no thought to the impact and no thought of the consequences.  I can see them doing it and I can foresee the consequences.

The mention of selling National Nature Reserves to private land owners, seems like an unworkable idea.  I doubt there are many private landowners who would want to buy designated land with all the covenants for nature conservation that come with it.  Yes perhaps you could give it away to a nature conservation body such as the RSPB or National Trust, but at the end of the day would they be prepared to take it on without a dowry for its long term care?

The result will be a decline in quality of habitat and deline in species numbers with perhaps even complete loss of certain species in some areas.

The more the government reveals about its programme of cuts (and there are more to come, according to Clegg the puppet), the more I see this country heading for the perfect storm of unemployment, recession, poverty, inequality, and rising health problems.  I’m not a politician, I am just a mere human, in fear of redundancy and in fear that this Country that I love will be torn apart under the guise of trying to reduce deficit by a morally corrupt leadership, that cares for nothing beyond the wider realms of its own riches.

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