https://deframedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/16/michael-goves-landmark-speech-on-the-environment/

Michael Gove’s landmark speech on the environment

Photo of Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

There is widespread coverage including in the Daily Telegraph (p2), Daily Express (p10), Sky News, i (p9) and ITV News of the speech on the environment that Environment Secretary Michael Gove will deliver later today at Kew Gardens.

Daily Express, i, Sky News, and ITV News report that the Environment Secretary is expected to warn that “time is running out” as global warming accelerates. The Telegraph reports that the Environment Secretary is also expected to say that Margaret Thatcher would have backed the modern day government’s “moral need” to save the planet. PoliticsHome focuses on the possibility of undrinkable water and oceans with more plastic than fish in the future.

The Environment Secretary is expected to say:

Time is running out to make the difference we need; to repair the damage we as a species have done to the planet we have plundered. Nature is in retreat - we have seen a catastrophic loss of biodiversity across the globe as a result of man’s actions.

There is a political need to act - because we cannot leave this planet to the next generation more polluted, more dangerous, denuded of its natural riches and increasingly inhospitable to all life.

There is an economic need to act - because unless we restore our natural capital then we will have depleted soils incapable of yielding harvests or sustaining livestock, we will have oceans with more plastic than fish, we will have dried up or contaminated water sources and we will have severe weather events endangering lives and livelihoods.

And there is a moral need to act - because, as Margaret Thatcher reminded us, we do not have a freehold on this planet, it is not ours to dispose of as we wish, we are partners in the great chain of evolution with the rest of nature and endowed as we are with reason we therefore have the responsibility to steward and protect.

Today’s speech is underpinned by the development of the government’s upcoming Environment Bill, which will put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government.

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  1. Comment by Pesticide Action Kent posted on

    IT SEEMS TO BE ANOTHER LIP SERVICE FROM MR GOVE! THE STATE OF PESTICIDE USE BY THE FARMERS HAS REACHED TO A SHOCKING STATE IN THE UK, YET IN HIS SPEECH ARTICLE TITLED; 'IF NOT NOW, WHEN?', MR GOVE IS SUGGESTING (BY REPEATING THE SAME TWICE!) THE FOLLOWING:

    "With the right knowledge, we can identify exactly where best to focus on reducing the use of pesticides and fertilisers, in order to minimise unwelcome drift of nitrates in our water; OR where best to pay for better slurry storage in order to reduce the ammonia emissions that contribute to air pollution".

    THIS PARAGRAPH IS THE ONLY ONE WHERE MR GOVE CONSIDERED PESTICIDE USE.

    MR GOVE, YOU SEEM TO BE STILL CONTINUING 'BUSINESS AS USUAL'. THERE CANNOT BE ' EITHER OR' ANY LONGER!. WITH THIS 'VISION' OF 2020, YOU REALLY SHOULD RESIGN! AFTER ALL, IF NOT NOW, WHEN!

    PLEASE ALSO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY BY READING THE ARTICLE ABOUT YOUR ADMINISTRATION (BY SARAH KNAPTON -THE TELEGRAPH) BELOW .

    REGARDS, PESTICIDE ACTION KENT

    By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor (19 April 2019 • 12:01am)

    In April 2019, the RSPB and dozens of environmental groups have resigned from the government’s pesticides forum after two decades claiming the use of dangerous chemicals is now far worse than when they joined.

    The charity alongside Wildlife and Countryside Link which represents bodies like The Wildlife Trusts and Butterfly Conservation have written to Michael Gove, the environment secretary, warning they can ‘no longer stand by’ while the situation deteriorates.

    Two groups, the Pesticides Forum and Voluntary Initiative, were set up by the government in the 1990s to reduce environmental damage from pesticides.

    However figures show that since their founding the area of British land treated by pesticides has risen from 45 million hectares to more than 70 million hectares today.

    Numerous studies in recent years have shown that pesticides are causing long-term decline in insects and birds, and are probably behind ‘colony collapse disorder’ in bees which has seen populations plummet by up to 90 per cent.

    Toxic neonicotinoid varieties have now been banned but even replacements, such as sulfoxaflor, have been found to reduce bee colonies by half.

    As well as killing the creatures outright, the chemicals can have other damaging effects such as reducing fertility over the long term.

    In spite of the ban, neonicotinoids, which work by disrupting the central nervous systems of pests, are probably still causing long-term effects because of contamination of soils, freshwater, wetlands and coastal areas.

    And by killing insects, the pesticides are also having an impact on species higher up the food chain such as birds, as well as on pollination, pest and weed control and food production for humans.

    In March the EU banned Britain’s most common pesticide, chlorothalonil, which prevents mildew and mould on crops like barley, wheat, potatoes, peas and beans.

    But is not known if Britain will be bound by that decision after Brexit with farmers campaigning to be allowed to still use the chemical.

    Josie Cohen, Head of Policy & Campaigns at The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) UK, which has also signed the letter said: “We cannot remain members of bodies that continue to push the ‘business as usual’ approach as pesticides drive massive declines in wildlife such as bees, birds and butterflies.

    “The UK government urgently needs to put in place the measures required to support UK farmers to reduce their dependence on pesticides and transition to non-chemical alternatives.”

    The charities are calling for the forum and voluntary initiative to be replaced by compulsory measures to reduce pesticide use and support farmers in adopting non-chemical alternatives.