David Levy – Replying to Government Agencies and is this a Waste of Resources? – Mar 15

The biggest form of global waste is the pointless activity of human beings in pursuing actions that were designed to go nowhere.

By Whom You May Well Ask?

Well the word “consultation” dogs my dreams and often turns them into nightmares. Marinet is frequently requested to respond to Government Agencies via their consultations. The raft of applications to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) for dredging licences has led to a multitude of responses by Stephen and Pat in the past, and most recently by Viv.

The calibre of the reply back by the MMO has been perfunctory at best, and inadequate at worst.

The public perception is that these Agencies are the expert, for they are tasked with delivering licenses, but no. They have little in-house expertise and they farm out the questions to others to reply for them. This must be wrong. Given some of the out-sourced questions end up with private companies who act for the licence applicant makes it wrong outside of the fact the Agency itself should have the expertise to do the job.

This frustration transcends just a single agency/organisation. Defra with an alacrity of a bureaucracy issues consultations with flourish, and I suspect there is a basement somewhere full of all our responses which equates to a carbon footprint of milliards of tonnes. Ironic, I guess.

I had a decade of similar activity with the Environment Agency over air quality and industrial processes — such as cement plants, incinerators and chimney outlets. This led me to think wider, and about breaking away from this end game that is a controlled-rigged-time-waster.

What can an NGO do to become effective if they have come to a similar conclusion as my own? Writing endless scripts about what we perceive as the truth is a self- fulfilling process. It convinces only the converted, and has b***er all effect on the regulator.

What does?

In my opinion there are only two things that divert Government:

  1. Take out a legal case against them.
  2. Bring a co-ordinated public and multi-NGO campaign into the media.

Getting the latter is difficult due to the precious nature of NGOs. The former may answer the call for where we need to concentrate our efforts in the future.

If you wish to see Marinet’s latest consultation response to Defra on its recent tranche of 22 MCZMCZ Marine Conservation Zone sites, look to our website. You may well see the frustration I was talking about.

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