Tim Bonner has written for the Conservative Home website about the shortcomings of the rewilding and why its unjust and bad for the environment: Ignorant, unjust – and bad for the environment. It’s time to call a halt to rewilding

In the comment piece Tim Bonner said:

“Which brings me on to the latest attempt at radical land use change: the strange and almost indefinable cult of ‘rewilding’. This ideology seems to have grown out of a number of strands including those who seek to reintroduce flora and fauna, in particular ‘charismatic’ mammals (charismatic megafauna) such as wolves and lynxes to their historic range; those with a John Muir-ian belief that man’s intervention in the environment is always a ‘bad thing’; and those who see a debate about land use as central to counter-acting global warming. To a greater or lesser extent, they all share the belief that their proposals should over-ride the rights of existing landowners and users, and the cultural landscapes they have historically created. To a greater or lesser extent, such proposals also seem to be motivated by political, as well as practical, aims.

“It is therefore more than a little surprising to see a Conservative think tank, Bright Blue, that prides itself on taking a centre-right approach to environmental issues, buying into such dubious proposals. All that those who recycle the mantra of ‘rewilding’ are actually doing is advertising ignorance of the reality of the British countryside.

“First, it is best to start with some facts. Most important of these is that almost the entirety of the British landscape has been created and maintained in its current form by man. With the tiny exception of a few very high mountain tops, the countryside we love (and the polling is very clear that we really do love it) is man-made and unnatural. Perhaps the best example of an adored created landscape is the Lake District. Man and sheep created that extraordinarily beautiful countryside: they maintain it and, crucially, are also part of it. Millions come to walk on the fells that Wainwright wrote about – or even just to gaze at them – but it is no more a ‘natural’ landscape than a ploughed East Anglian field. Even Wordsworth’s daffodils are an introduced species.

“Second, ‘rewilding’, in the context of the UK, is increasingly used to describe any environmental pipe dream which challenges current land ownership and use. Perhaps because the purity of simply withdrawing all management or human impact on large areas of our crowded island is so obviously impossible, we have now entered a surreal phase of redefinition. A recent select committee inquiry used the phrase ‘managed rewilding’ in its call for evidence, a charity included a session on ‘rewilding a golf course’ in its annual conference and even the primary cheerleader, ‘Rewilding Britain’, describes the restoration of a chalk stream, the ultimate in intensively managed watercourses, as ‘rewilding’.”

In September the Countryside Alliance submitted written evidence on rewilding to the EFRA select committee inquiry into “The future of the natural environment after the EU referendum”: http://www.countryside-alliance.org/ca-flatcap/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Rewilding-Written-Evidence-Environmental-Audit-Committee-Inquiry-September-2016.pdf”