Owen Paterson seems increasingly to regard his own ecological illiteracy as a badge of pride. The latest example ([in his letter to the Times] 4 Jan.) is his suggestion that the destruction of ancient woodland could be ‘offset’ by planting new trees in its stead. He fails to understand that the ecosystem of an ancient wood is infinitely richer than that of some new plantation that allegedly substitutes for it.
Underlying his crass statement is a tragic abandonment, by the so-called Conservative Party, of their one-time calling: as conservers of our natural and cultural heritage. For the ‘Conservatives’ are now prepared to tear up any part of the British countryside that gets in the way of their desperate pursuit of ‘economic growth’. It is the Green Party that now that assumes the mantle of protectors of our green and pleasant land.
Dr. Rupert Read and Prof. Molly Scott Cato, lead Green Party MEP-candidates in the East and in the South West of England,
c/o Green Party National HQ, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT