Baker Consultants

Andrew Baker Responds to DEFRA’s Nature Recovery Green Paper in the Habitats Regulations Journal

Andrew Baker, Managing Director at Baker Consultants, has provided his response to DEFRA’s Nature Recovery Green Paper in a supplementary issue of the Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) Journal.

The supplementary issue of the HRA Journal contains comments from a range of practitioners across the UK, and is being released in response to the Nature Recovery Green Paper in a bid to positively inform the consultation process surrounding the paper. Released by DEFRA on 16 March 2022, the paper outlines a number of possible changes to existing legislation and options for consultation that could heavily impact the HRA process and the level of protection that European sites receive.

Baker Consultants’ Andrew Baker has provided his comments on the Nature Recovery Green Paper to the HRA Journal, and believes that the requirement to prove that a plan or project will not have an adverse effect upon integrity has led to the search for ‘Celestial Teapots’ (or Russell’s Teapot). This is an analogy originally coined by Philosopher Bertrand Russell to illustrate that the burden of proof relies upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims. Andrew said, “I was recently talking to a fellow Senior Ecologist, an expert in bat ecology, who was just beginning a suite of surveys on an isolated hedge in the middle of an arable field site in order to prove that the removal of the hedge would not have an adverse effect upon a lesser horseshoe bat roost over 6km away. The search for the Celestial Teapot was on – the chances of this species being present in such an environment is about as close to zero as one could get.”

The full supplementary issue of the HRA journal is available via subscription here. If you’d like to know more about Andrew Baker’s thoughts on the Nature Recovery Green Paper, he will be providing more commentary on our website soon.


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