Somerset Wildlife Trust was disturbed to learn this week of proposals by Somerset County Council which appear to indicate services for conserving our wildlife and improving the natural environment will effectively be axed.
In its Mid Term Financial Plan (MTFP) Somerset County Council lays out plans to make the majority of its staff who work on wildlife and countryside issues redundant. The posts affected include the two ecologists who are responsible for assessing impacts to wildlife habitats and species from possible new developments and major infrastructure projects.
All local authorities have legal responsibilities to conserve and protect important species, habitats and sites. Without the right expertise and skills in-house it will be very difficult for the County Council to meet these obligations to wildlife, and the alternative option of paying consultants to provide advice on ecology matters is likely to be more expensive.
Somerset Wildlife Trust is concerned about these proposals because we know our natural environment is important to people. It underpins our rural economy and well-being, providing us with special places to work, live and play, and gives us a range of services and goods, like clean water, crop pollination, fuel and much more. Our natural world is not a luxury, but a necessity without it, we couldn’t survive, and therefore Somerset Wildlife Trust is calling upon the County Council to play its part in looking after our environment.
The plan detailing the cuts will be debated by a group of County Councillors in the Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 29th January, and they will then make recommendations to the Cabinet who meet to make a final decision on Wednesday 6th February. You can take a look at the proposals for cuts to the environment by following this link to the Somerset County Council’s website
What can I do?
Write to the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Osman and tell him why you want to see your County Council protecting our natural environment. Your letter or email needs to reach him before the 6th February. A list of all County Councillors and their contact details can be found on the Somerset County Council website