Tuesday, 18 May 2021

They own land! Give them money!

From The Sunday Telegraph:

Farmers could be paid to rewild river banks for beavers

LANDOWNERS could be paid to stop tending riverbanks on their property under government plans to help reintroduce beavers.

Farmers would be prevented from cultivating up to the river's edge, to encourage trees and shrubs to grow as part of a "nature recovery network" across the country. Ben Goldsmith, Defra's new Nature Champion, has been disussing the rewilding plan with his minister brother Lord Goldsmith for years...

Bloody hell.

I own a house with a garden, there are lots of things I'm not allowed to do for the overall benefit of society, like chopping down a tree that's more than a certain size (I only have small trees, so not a live issue), opening up a night club (not that I'd want to do that either), whatever.

Does the government compensate me for these restrictions? Of course not. They don't compensate me for not speeding either; they punish me if they catch me doing it. If the government now decides that you aren't allowed to cultivate with a certain distance from a river or larger stream because this has wider benefits (see the article), why should anybody be compensated? Just pass a law, enforce it, job done.


Bayard said...

None of your examples involves the curtailment of any business activity, which rather reduces their relevancy.

The other thing is that passing laws is all very fine in theory, but criminals don't take any notice of laws, that's why they are criminals. The law has to be enforced. To take your example of speeding. Back in the day, speed limits were more considered in the breach rather than the observance, then came speed cameras and now you chances of driving from London to the Severn Bridge at a steady 125mph, as a friend of mine once did, without collecting enough tickets to lose your licence for a considerable period of time are pretty well nil. If farmers are not encouraged to allow beavers on their land, they will shoot them. A dead beaver is easily concealed and no-one need know. It's not like chopping down a tree. This is what happens in the US. If a farmer sees a protected animal on his land, he shoots it, as he knows that the alternative is, once that animal is reported, enough paperwork to make his life a misery. Similarly bats in this country. You really don't want to have bats in your house, not because they do any damage and it's nice to see them flying around at dusk, but, as soon as the environmental bureaucrats get wind of them, they can cause you no end of trouble and expense.

Mark Wadsworth said...


1. I gave the example of me NOT being able to run a night club. Which is "curtailment of a business activity".

2. Sure, the law might be difficult to enforce. But that's still no reason to pay people who claim to have obeyed it. By your logic, what's to stop farmers banking their free money and shooting badgers anyway?

Lola said...

MW. Where I live that's sort of what they already do, re badgers.

Andrew Carey said...

I own a bit of garden - the law bans planting invasive species such as Jap Knotweed when it previously didn't, and many others. Wood burning restrictions abound which didn't 80 years ago. Next year France is going to ban patio heaters.
Many things were once thought to be good ideas, such as not having beavers, are now thought to be good ideas because there are external benefits from having them back. A warm collective glow that as an animal loving nation we're almost as good as Canada.
Many landowners leave the riverbank sections alone already. Handouts to those who already do right and those who don't. No thanks.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, a shame for the little badgers, but that's life (or death, in the case of badgers).

AC, thanks, more good examples.

Bayard said...

"I gave the example of me NOT being able to run a night club. Which is "curtailment of a business activity"."

No it isn't. You can't curtail something you haven't even started. To be analogous, your example would have to be "only allowing you to open your existing nightclub on Friday and Saturday nights, whereas before you were allowed to open seven days a week.

Bayard said...

"By your logic, what's to stop farmers banking their free money and shooting badgers anyway?"

Re badgers, there are too many of the bastards anyway.

Re beavers, presumably there would be checks from the environmental agency, just like there are if you are inflicted with bats.