David Levy – Are the bureaucrats simply waiting for everything to collapse? -Aug 15

I would like to make the assertion : decisions made in Government are fundamentally flawed. Further, the role of the environmental consultant has been devalued, and scientific advice ignored to promote what is basically “business as usual”.

This would be mildly acceptable if the overall view of the situation was one of progress. The truth is that this is not so, and we stagger from crisis to crisis.

Consider the role of Defra and its administration of the health of our fish stocks, habitats and the ecosystem in our territorial waters.

During the past decade we have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to improve the quality of our fish stocks to promote fish food security and an improving situation. Knowledge is at an all-time high.

Yet, the vast majority of what is overseen and monitored is functioning well-below regeneration. What’s more, what we have agreed to during reform is not properly policed and the cracks in the administration resemble crazy paving.

Government makes pretend that consultation is the manner in which they listen and learn from interested organisations. However the truth is that change is seen as unhelpful in the offices of power.

Ask yourself why it is, in all the while that we have been discussing improvements, that the way we monitor and assess is patchy, under-funded, and in most cases not even considered? I have been saying for years that the system was “designed to fail”.

In reality, “target deadlines” set in the corridors of power are already breached, and the fishing industry has been handed over to a few powerful companies. These companies are armed with a battery of lawyers who ensure that the status quo continues, and they operate outside the law when it suits and whenever nobody is watching — which is most of the time. True, some have been caught – but the rewards far outweigh the punishment.

As this a blog, I will not labour what to me is the most obvious. However, what I would wish to end on is the question whether we will ever resolve a deteriorating situation, or whether bureaucrats are just waiting for collapse before they act? As I have said before, I truly believe the Devil is on this Earth, destroying man through his own greed.

If I could design government decision-making, I would insist on all decisions being signed off by a majority scientific panel, with places on the panel for NGO representation and limited voting rights. I would also insist that all decisions have in-built policing and monitoring, provided by funding from the fishing license applicant and from the Navy’s own training budget. Until the “Wild West” attitude is broken on the open oceans, and fishermen realise they are being monitored by on-board CCTV which they cannot turn off, then it will continue to be a downward spiral.

David Levy

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