...include this tweet:
We spend less on protecting the natural environment than Chelsea spends on their footballers. #greengrowth
Now Chelsea spend a lot on money on wages - around £172 million - but I'm prepared to bet that "we" spend a good deal more than that on protecting the natural environment. Here's some indications:
- The budget for Britain's 15 national parks totals around £70 million
- Every local planning authority provides an ecology and arboriculture planning service
- Millions are spent managing publicly owned open country outside national Parks (e.g. Ilkley Moor)
- Natural England's budget is £155m and the Environment agency spends £652m
- The Forestry Commision has a reported expenditure of over £49m
That's around £1 billion spent protecting the environment by various arms of government. And I haven't included the money spent by coastal authorities, the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Energy & Climate Change and the Department of Communities & Local Government.
But there's more - the water industry invests around £80 million each week and a fair chunk of this is spent on improvements to the natural environment (some would say at the expense of the distribution network). And then there's the millions spent by farmers, landowners, estate managers and other businesses on maintaining and protecting land. Plus of course, the National Trust, Woodland Trust, assorted Wildlife Trusts and conservation organisations.
And to finish there's the millions we all spend on our gardens, on bird tables, on trees and on - you know - protecting the natural environment.
Despite the tweet being wholly incorrect, it will do the rounds and people will believe it. The statement will crop up unchallenged in the press and on the BBC. This is how lies win.