“Money for ‘badger killing’ but none for dredging” notes Chard councillor

Floods in South Somerset
Floods in South Somerset

Now just about everyone must be aware of the flooding that has occurred again on the Somerset Levels. The Christmas period was very wet and so far this year there seems no let up in the rain this weekend as the downpour continues.

Thankfully the number of people directly affected is relatively small at around a few hundred. Dredging is the current cry that is going out. But again it’s the economy of scale. It’s not a city like Amsterdam we are trying to protect, just a few hundred people on the levels. With rising sea levels, global warming and a shift in weather patterns, just what is the answer?

Under this coalition government we are now onto the second Environment Minister, Owen Paterson who seems to have been far too busy pushing for and then rolling out the badger culls in West Somerset and Gloucestershire. The hound dogs of the NFU have been snarling and snapping at his heels for these bloody badger culls and he has delivered for them.

The costs of these two pilot culls are still being calculated, but they are running into millions and they are not based on sound proven scientific evidence and this was just the first stage.

The previous Environment Minister Caroline Spellman will be remembered by the attempted sell-off of the nation’s woodlands and forests. That did not go down well particular in the Forest of Dean! But this was in the time of U-Turns with the coalition and the sell off was scrapped, well we think it was!

Graham Forsyth
Cllr Graham Forsyth, Avishayes ward Chard

I can remember the baptism of fire that Gordon Brown had when he took over from Tony Blair as the storm clouds burst over Gloucestershire in the autumn of 2007 and we had a taste of things to come. Spending on flood defences was increased, but then we can expect that from a Labour government. This is what they get criticised the most for; NHS spending, increasing flood defences, building new schools etc. But the bankers put an end to that and the brave new coalition was born and a time cuts was the order of the day. No public body was spared the call to cut jobs and projects.

However I just find it strange that money seems to have been found for badger killing and a 25 year plan for this killing to continue is still being muted But many thousands of Environmental Agency staff faces job cuts and an array of flood defence schemes and research projects have been left underfunded or cancelled.

I for one don’t see any private dredging company coming in and bidding for the Tone and Parrett river dredging as Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP for Bridgwater, wants. This will cost about £4.5m and may well be the figure that Owen Paterson has spent of the West Somerset Badger Cull already by the Environment Agency and heartily supported by Mr Liddell-Grainger, is it the blind leading the blind in pursuit of Mr. Brock and Mr. Fox!

I have always stated that the influence that the NFU have on both DEFRA and Natural England was not serving the majority of us well and with Pro-hunting and Badger killing Owen Paterson responsible for this whole area he must be the worst and most infective Environment Minister this country has ever had!

In September last year Owen Paterson stated that ‘not all global warming is bad’ – was he suggesting the Somerset Levels farmers start growing rice?

I am just waiting for his comment on the weather; did the rain move the goalposts!

Cllr Graham Forsyth

Avishayes Ward


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Marta Falco Ainley
10 years ago

DEFRA/Owen Paterson want to rid our countryside of wildlife<(badgers, birds of prey, foxes,except a few for the next Tory led government, when they repeal the hunting act. He can, and Cameron too, then saddle up and chase foxes and watch with delight as they are torn to pieces. And what do they care about the massive number of hounds that are shot and incinerated if not good at chasing or too old?
Paterson wants to bulldoze ancient woodlands, build on green land unnecessarily, not ban dangerous pesticides. The government want high speed rail and have no care for what will be destroyed when it gets in it's way. He's managed to put an adventure capitalist, Andrew Sells as the man who'll issue badger cull linceses , into Natural England.

10 years ago

Very well said Cllr Graham Forsyth. Thank you

10 years ago

thank you for that, brilliantly frank and truthful. This is the worst ever british government who are leading this country into anarchy and destruction. The figures I have heard for the cull are 7.3m which could as you said have paid for dredging in the hard hit areas, plus leaving 3m for farmers to have bio-security AND some pennies left in the bank to give to brilliant volunteers who are vaccinating badgers for £25 each against cattle tb. God help us!

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