Turnstone, by John Maiden, September 6, 2016

Share this article

Local democracy has received another bashing in a report by a government planning inspector which could have been written by Pontius Pilate, given the way it glosses over the mistakes made by the local planning authority when dealing with an application for a large housing estate with direct vehicular access onto the A149 at Heacham.

Unfortunately, this cavalier approach to the environment by decision makers is a worldwide phenomenon. From the deliberate burning of forests of Indonesia to the decline of the world’s oceans; not a day goes by without seriously bad news for the future of our planet and the creatures whose existence is increasingly threatened by mankind’s exploitation of the natural world.

Elephants are being slaughtered in Africa because of the ivory trade in Asia; while much closer to home badgers are being inhumanely gunned down in large areas of England, in spite of evidence from eminent scientists indicating that the slaughter of badgers is not the way to deal with bovine TB in cattle.

Last week the Government made a bad situation even worse by announcing that seven new licences for badger culling have been granted, covering parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. These are in addition to the existing cull areas in three of the counties that are already part of an ongoing four-year trial cull.

In response, the Wildlife Trusts’ President Emeritus, Simon King OBE, launched a new e-petition on the Government website calling for an end to the badger cull and no expansion of the cull to new areas.

He said: “Any extension of badger culling into new areas should be prevented. The scientific evidence demonstrates that culling is likely to be ineffective in fighting the disease and risks making the problem even worse.

“The impact of bovine TB is painful, disruptive and distressing to the lives and businesses of farmers - but culling is not the solution and gives false hope to farmers.”

Tomorrow, September 7, there is a Westminster Hall debate on badger culling and bovine TB organised by Dr Paul Monaghan MP (SNP). It might be worth asking our local MPs to go with the scientific evidence on this occasion by voting for an immediate end to the badger cull, which has done nothing more than give false hope to farmers.

It is a clumsy link, but there is an opportunity to switch off from the world’s woes on Thursday afternoon this week or next, because Olly Day and Nigel ‘Boy’ Syer will be appearing as farmers in: “If it’s Laughter you’re after” at Hunstanton’s Princess Theatre. Also appearing will be vocalist Lisa Marie and several farm animals, including a free-range chicken! All very different from the factory farming system proposed for Sedgeford - another defeat for local democracy!

More show details on www.princesshunstanton.co.uk or 01485 532252.