Tony Juniper Blames Farmers, Not His Own Bureaucrats At Natural England

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Well, obviously, of course he does. Tony Juniper takes office at Natural England. Shooting licences are suspended. Farmers can’t go out and shoot pests. But this is not a shambles, isn’t a problem, isn’t anything to do with Tony Juniper and anyway, look over there, *crickets*!

The new chairman of Natural England has denied the abrupt removal of general shooting licences was a “shambles” as he argued that aggrieved farmers were “confused.”

Farmers watching their seed crop disappearing down pigeon gullets are the ones confused, eh?

Mr Juniper told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: “It’s been confusing for some people, I wouldn’t describe it by any stretch, however, as a shambles.” The decision to revoke general licences, which allowed landowners to shoot birds such as pigeons and crows which damage crops, was made abruptly, without consulting farmers, gamekeepers or conservationists. Mr Juniper explained: “We didn’t have time to consult with people before we had to go to a new regime and this has created a very significant amount of confusions and misunderstanding and in some cases anger.” He also said he had no regrets over how the licences were revoked, denied that he would do anything differently and argued that by the time he joined Natural England it was “too late” to pursue other options.

Arbitrary action by idiots. But not my fault, Guv.

This is actually the sort of thing that used to generate that invite into the library with a bottle of whiskey. There were things wrong with the England of old but at least they would admit to failure – and do something about it.

Tim Bonner, the chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Natural England’s handling of the General Licence issue is the definition of a ‘shambles’ and it is worrying that even after Defra has had to take control of the process the new NE Chairman is still denying this. “We are not confused that it was unacceptable to revoke the ability to manage pigeons, crows and other species which has been in place throughout history at 36 hours notice, we are not confused about the changes in the licences which make them impractical in many circumstances, and we are not confused about the impact this shambles is having on livestock, crops and conservation.”

Yes, quite.

Which does rather show up what is so annoying – dangerous even – about the rule by quangocracy. No one will ever take any damn responsibility for anything. Therefore it never is possible to clear up mistakes nor get rid of those who make them. The why is there in that sentence of course.

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