Have the nation’s environmentalists found a new and unlikely champion for their various causes?
Environment Secretary Michael Gove (pictured) might think so in a speech to the WWF conference last week which had more content in it than past contributions from his three predecessors, Owen Patterson, Ms Leadsom and Truss.
Gove’s message was to sell his version of Brexit which, he says, is green to join the dozen or so other versions being touted by the Brexiteers.
Among the warm words is a serious aspiration to ensure that leaving the EU does not weaken the numerous environmental measures currently provided under EU legislation.
These include among others, cleaner beaches, restrictions on pesticides and pollution and species protection and their habitats.
Gove says these must not only stay after Brexit but be strengthened under UK law.
His proposed reforms of the process for re-distributing the £3bn subsidies to farmers are perhaps the most challenging of his post-Brexit hopes.
Environmental issues do not recognise frontiers or borders so continued international co-operation must also be among Gove’s top priorities.
His praise of environmental organisations such as the RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth with ‘their capacity to move hearts more powerful than any other set of institutions in our civil society’ should not deter governments, in or out of the EU, from leading campaigns to prevent the continued degradation of nature.
Havant & East Hampshire Friends of the Earth
Beach Road, Emsworth