As we head towards the Easter break there is a real feel that spring is properly here, although it’s perhaps a little too early to talk of summer (climate change notwithstanding). But, in those places where an institutionalised approach to term-times reigns supreme (places like schools and the Houses of Parliament), the time is right for an end of spring-term report and to dust off the PE kit ready for the summer term.
One of the Government’s current environmental challenges, and one that certainly merits a progress report, is its response to the growing chorus of criticism over its poor performance in protecting our irreplaceable ancient woodland.
Our ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign is aimed at holding the Government to account on its poor performance and seeks to draw it to the table to discuss those areas where it really must try harder. A bit like a ‘Parents’ Evening’ session at this early stage in the year (when it’s not too late for the capable pupil to ‘pull their finger out’ and come good before the real exams kick in). For a full breakdown against the eight key areas of concern, read the ‘school report’ (PDF, 1 MB – opens in a new window).
Many of us will be familiar with the long winded and formulaic approaches that sometimes inhabit the modern school report – gone are the days of deciphering eight different sets of handwriting (although that did feel a bit more personal, at least). But, let’s cut to the chase. How are they doing against the curriculum that we have set out? How responsive are they to our efforts to lead them through it?
Well, we have got them to come to the table, starting with a meeting scheduled with the Secretary of State for the Environment in early May. As you might expect, we will offer modest praise as well as criticism, but also (we hope) real and constructive dialogue about what working together and trying harder can achieve.
So, along the way, we have had to deal with the usual distractions; lapses of concentration, a little plagiarism, some forgetfulness, some trips down cul-de-sacs of understanding and some slowness of pace – but also some bright flashes of real application and understanding that bode well for the future. It’s all there in the full progress report.
We have got this far because our challenge is being carried forward by the voices of 45,000 others. In twelve weeks, people have joined our call to the Prime Minister for better protection of our precious ancient woodland at an average rate of over 500 every day. It’s not too late to add your support, email the Prime Minister now.
So, here’s to a well earned rest over Easter – then back in refreshed and ready for more.
Austin Brady, Director of Conservation