Ousted Paterson lashes green pressure groups

Ex Defra minister Owen Paterson says NGOs blight the rural economy.

Owen Paterson
Owen Paterson

Owen Paterson says his successor at Defra, Liz Truss, will do an "excellent job" but he leaves the post of secretary of state "with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob".

He added: "By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

"Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment."

He wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: "I saw my task as improving both the environment and the rural economy; many in the green movement believed in neither.

"Their goal was to enhance their own income streams and influence by myth making and lobbying. The European Commission website reveals that a staggering 150 million euros (£119  million) was paid to the top nine green NGOs from 2007-13.

Paterson also hit out at Carbon Gold's Craig Sams for his anti-GM stance, musician Brian May for opposing badger culls and dress designer Vivienne Westwood for opposing fracking.

Paterson says he was attacked by anti-capitalist NGOs in most things he did, from badgers to floods.

Friends of the Earth described Paterson as "paranoid" and "never fit" to hold ministerial office, while Greenpeace said his "tenuous grasp of the facts" showed why is was best that he "no longer dictates policy".

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