The Environment Secretary (or rather the anti-environment secretary), Owen Paterson, is continuing his complete disregard for Britain's natural environment by proposing 'biodiversity offsets', where ancient trees are felled for development whilst planting new trees to attempt to compensate. The HS2 project, if eventually built, will add insult to injury in this regard.
This news comes at the same time of reports of southern parts of Britain facing the worst floods in more than 20 years. The felling of trees, the draining of marshlands, and damage to bogs, just for development purposes, will adversely increase the impact of these floods to urban/semi-urban areas in future.
My message to Britain's worst environment secretary for decades is this: our ancient woodlands and other natural areas took centuries to develop, and thus cannot be replaced by 'biodiversity offsets'; though trees are easy to plant, many will take decades, even centuries, to grow to maturity. Natural trees are important for absoprtion of carbon dioxide emissions and also for protection of grasslands, pasture etc. from flooding. Tony Juniper is right (he recently commented on this in The Independent)-these areas must be sacronsanct, for the good of nature and also the good of humanity.
It is clear in other parts of the world that when land degradation and deforestation has occurred on a significant scale, and also as greenhouse gas and chemical emissions continue to rise, have disrupted stable weather patterns and left many people vulnerable to natural disasters.
I thus need to stress once again our ultimate dependence on a stable environment, and thus limit development so that it does not encroach on areas of natural beauty, take greater action against companies with little or no regard for nature or people's land, and also try our best to restore life to land that has lost it, and also take further steps towards a carbon-neutral society so that meteorological patterns are no longer distorted to the extent they are now.