Bill Oddie attacks government’s green record

TV presenter and wildlife expert Bill Oddie has launched a stinging attack on David Cameron’s green credentials, accusing the government of putting money before the protection of wildlife.

Writing in the latest issue of Birdwatch, on sale next week, Oddie accuses ministers of protecting big business over wildlife. His comments come on the day that David Cameron came under fire from environmentalists over reports that he wants to cut back on 'green taxes'.

In the article, Oddie says: “Lack of experience seems to me to be one of the most disturbing aspects of this government. I get the impression that ministers are allocated to a department regardless of whether they know anything about it or not. Conservationists have the welfare of wild creatures in mind. Ministers have more vested interests.

“Why is nature important? The truthful answer is that, to them, it isn’t. At least not as important as money. The growth they crave is not of trees, wildflowers or populations of species. It is economic growth.”

Oddie also criticises the government’s stance on a variety of environmental issues including the badger cull, hunting with dogs and the opposition to a ban on bee-killing pesticides.

And he criticises the government for being “predominately male”, “educated at Eton College” and for being millionaires whose “fortunes were made from time ‘in the city’, or from inheritances”. He adds: “Social connections include wealthy landowners (often farmland) who may well contribute to Tory funding. Leisure activities include shooting parties and hunting.”

In his article, Oddie sums up: “The greenest government? Only if we define ‘green’ as ‘inexperienced’, ‘naïve’, ‘unripe’ and likely to make you sick!”

Bill Oddie is writing in the December 2013 Birdwatch magazine on sale from 28 November.

Birdwatch is Britain’s number one magazine for keen birders and is re-launched this month with a fresh new look and even more in-depth articles to help you improve your birding skills. Find out more at www.birdwatch.co.uk.