My Week - Matt Shardlow assesses a case and mingles with MPs

The Buglife chief executive recounts his week

Matt Shardlow, chief executive, Buglife
Matt Shardlow, chief executive, Buglife

Monday: I respond to a consultation on the future of the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is so disappointing that its good intentions are thwarted by a focus on public engagement and inadequate full cost recovery. It is hard to use the HLF to actually conserve rare wildlife, so the fund is repeatedly under-spent - criminal. We get a knock-back on an important Defra tender - it feels like Defra is too risk-averse to work constructively with high-profile NGOs.

Tuesday: I meet our lawyers about a forthcoming court case: big company, big site, probably lots of endangered species and a tiny amount of information in the environmental impact assessment. Reading our submissions, it seems clear that the approval of a business park development was wrong legally as well as morally. Experience tempers optimism, but one thing is certain - if we don't stick up for the environment in the courts, the system won't improve. I have a one-to-one with Buglife's Scottish officer: the new peatland conservation apprentice we have recruited with Butterfly Conservation is settling in well.

Wednesday: I attend the Conservation and Wildlife All-Party Parliamentary Group at the House of Commons to discuss the proposed forest sell-off, before a meeting with Bob Russell MP. Then it's on to the Ramblers 75th anniversary: furrowed brows about new organisations that are having a big impact but are playing fast and loose with the facts, and new delivery bodies that are being hived off by government and dropping into the small funding pool for the environment.

Thursday: Our senior managers meeting focuses on a new definition, format and schedule. The volume and range of work our staff do is humbling. The government then produces a summary of responses to the natural environment white paper consultation: more than 14,500 in all. The media are not wildlife-savvy, but the public are - and bees and butterflies are their main concerns.

Buglife works to conserve invertebrates and save some of Britain's rarest creatures

Matt Shardlow is chief executive of Buglife

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