Leading UK Ecologist: Chancellor George Osborne A "Bloody Idiot" On Environmental Issues
George Osborne has been branded a "bloody idiot" for his attacks on wildlife protection rules by one of the UK's leading ecologists. Sir John Lawton, the former chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and current vice-president of the RSPB, said the chancellor's views on the environment were "potentially quite dangerous" and he was "not interested in evidence".
In his autumn statement last year, Osborne accused the habitats directive, aimed at safeguarding wildlife and biodiversity, of "placing ridiculous costs on British businesses".
He went on to add: "We shouldn't price British business out of the world economy. If we burden them with endless social and environmental goals – however worthy in their own right – then not only will we not achieve those goals, but the businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer."
Lawton, in a video interview with government news site Govtoday, said: "That's a classic example of George Osborne talking out the back of his head." Lawton was the author of a major government review of the UK's wildlife and habitats in 2010, which called for the creation of 12 huge "ecological restoration zones" – a recommendation endorsed a year later by the government's natural environment white paper. The locations for the twelve areas, from northern Devon to the Marlborough Downs, were announced in February.