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Friends of the Earth say "save our funding"

Ever keen to give voice to the rent-seeking interest, the Guardian is reporting that Friends of the Earth are worried that the UK might leave the European Union.

The UK's membership of the European Union has rocketed up the political agenda in recent weeks, but if Lord Lawson and Nigel Farage get their way, a go-it-alone Britain would be far from green and pleasant.

An analysis for Friends of the Earth, published today by the EU policy expert Dr Charlotte Burns from the University of York, provides a damning critique of UK environmental performance over decades, and highlights the huge risks of EU withdrawal.

That would be the risk of Friends of the Earth suffering a loss of funding from the EU I suppose.

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Reader Comments (29)

The case for leaving the EU is getting stronger all the time!

May 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Ah, of course, 'the EU policy expert'. Clearly someone we can all trust.

The proliferation of bogus expertise continues its relentless growth. It has almost become the defining feature of the 21st-century West.

May 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteragouts

'...but if Lord Lawson and Nigel Farage get their way, a go-it-alone Britain would be far from green and pleasant."
If FoE get their way "those clouded hills" will be covered with white satanic mills.

May 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The EU is a lobbyist's dream, unelected unaccountable bureaucrats just waiting for someone to give them an excuse to increase control.

May 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I read ( or more accurately scanned) the article earlier and came to a slightly different conclusion as to why Friends of the Earth are concerned. There is asolutely no reason in the middle to long term to think that a post EU UK would be more or less green. The pathetic performance of all green parties since the mid 1990s in the UK would appear to suggest that they are not likely to from the next government. This points to the undemocratic and even fascistic nature of the green ideology in that they want influence and power without a public mandate. If they want to succeed their opinions should mirror reality.

May 14, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

F o E to lose some of its funding? I'll drink to that!

May 14, 2013 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterYertizz

"The EU's approach to policy making is fundamentally different. Informed by the precautionary principle, and institutionalised within the environmental provisions of the Lisbon treaty, it requires that laws be introduced if there's a potential risk to human health or the environment – at least until evidence demonstrates otherwise"

In my opinion, it is the abuse of the precautionary principle that is holding politicians and others in line.
It is so easy to sell the idea to those who don't think the fallacy through.
Would any sane person pay a premium equivalent to half the value of their property each year.
It;s absolute nonsense and it needs debunking.

May 14, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

agouts said:

Ah, of course, 'the EU policy expert'. Clearly someone we can all trust.

Indeed, what I find increasingly these young bods seem to be rewriting history.

More vexing, when everything goes digital and no doubt it will because the herd called 'progress' tramples logic and tradition into the ground - unless one is able to access the Bodleian or Cambridge University Libraries - history will be written by the Nomenklatura in Brussels and dispersed and dispensed by the politicians, the apparatchiks in council libraries and media centres the breadth of the land.

If you possess the keys to a nation's history and indeed all of education - then you are a very powerful man.

May 14, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Another reason to vote UKIP:-)

May 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Richard North at has pointed out that Owen Patterson, the environment secretary, has already addressed this issue. Environmental protection would not cease in the absence of the EU.
We would still have a government and laws.

May 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Fox

The link is interesting.

Three separate sources of EU funding provide €1,168,733.
Estimated costs to the organisation directly related to representing interests to EU institutions in that year: €600,000 - €700,000
More than half of the money is spent on lobbying the EU itself.

Also FotE receives €216,663 from the Isvara Foundation. According to SourceWatch

The Isvara Foundation is a progressive trust that awards grants to civil society organisations working to halt the unsustainable and socially destructive neo-liberal policies that characterize the currently dominant process of corporate-led globalisation.

May 14, 2013 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

'My own eye opener came when I was pointed to the accounts of Friends of the Earth Europe. Some 50% of their money comes from the European Union...' Tim Worstall in a blog article a few years ago at the Adam Smith Institute.

May 14, 2013 at 7:44 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

... it requires that laws be introduced if there's a potential risk to human health ...
How does fuel poverty rate on that scale, I wonder.

May 14, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

There's a website where you can track the beneficiaries of funds from the EU:

Unfortunately this site only goes up to 2011, but you get the drift. Type "Friends of the Earth" or "WWF" into the "Name of beneficiary" box, and you will see some considerable sums of money listed.

May 14, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

That report was written by FotE Europe which is, I believe, based in Brussels and has an annual income of 2.5 million Euros. It should not be confused with FotE Trust Ltd which is the UK branch and has an annual income of £8.5m of which £4.6m was spent on salaries, NI and pension.

The FotE Trust Ltd should also not be confused with FotE Ltd, FotE (Birmingham) Ltd or FotE (Scotland) Ltd, all of whom are separate entities.

May 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Reading Burns' article:
"[1"]We had the highest level of sulphur dioxide emissions in Europe, resulting in acid rain that devastated Scandinavian forests.

[2] Our seas were akin to open sewers as we pumped human effluent in them as part of a "dilute and disperse" approach to pollution – the result of which I vividly recall from family holidays.

[3] And our drinking water was contaminated with a cocktail of chemicals.

1 Oh really? Not Poland? I remember in the 70s a rail journey through Silesia: made the potteries look like a national park? And anyway, nowadays, Germany is making strenuous efforts to become the dirty man of Europe with an explosion of coal powered generation, despite their assured membership of the EU

2 Perhaps. Take a swim in the Rhine those days? Better shit than chromium - in my book - any day!

3 My water then came from lakes and aquifers so why was it contaminated? Still does, actually.

May 14, 2013 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

I take the precautionary principal when dealing with FoE. I always assume that they are wrong!

May 14, 2013 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave38

Some pretty dubious claims then from Mr Burns — but, hey, why let facts get in the way of a good greenie rant.
Not a lot of point in taking issue, I suppose, since he probably believes at least half of that to be true. Probably also thinks that if we leave the EU we can't be trusted not to go back to our old evil ways. By and large I'm sort of pro-EU but idiots like this put forward the greatest case yet for leaving, if only to spite people like Fiends of the Earth and cut off their oxygen* supply.

* For the sake of clarity, I am referring to the oxygen of publicity or perhaps the life-giving force (in this case money) that keeps the organisation alive. I would hate anyone to think I was advocating anything else.
Tempting though that might be.

May 14, 2013 at 9:28 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson on May 14, 2013 at 9:28 PM

"... Fiends of the Earth ..."

I like it!

May 15, 2013 at 12:24 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Professional rent seeking environmentalist organizations need to be curtailed and government funding needs to be stopped.

Singlehandedly these organizations have damaged the economies of the West. They have one mantra only and that is "No, you can't", code for you cannot proceed at anything unless you pay our green ransom demand and only then subject to our oversight and our involvement in everything that happens.

"Greenfleece" and "Unfriendly To Humans" are parasites that are killing the host(western economies) gradually while economies in the East are thriving and taking no crap from these scumbags.

This green collar shakedown must stop, enough already with the multi trillion dollar damage they have done to Western economies.

May 15, 2013 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob

FOE by name and foe by nature?

May 15, 2013 at 7:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey


Ah, of course, 'the EU policy expert'. Clearly someone we can all trust.

Fortunately we have a panel of experts for emergencies like these.

May 15, 2013 at 7:43 AM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Robert Christopher
Feel free! I can't claim the copyright on that one, I'm afraid.

May 15, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

"This points to the undemocratic and even fascistic nature of the green ideology in that they want influence and power without a public mandate."

Well spotted, and if they ever do get their hands on the levers of powe we can expect no mercy.

May 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Always worth visiting the web pages of academics and departments, just to see what you are up against. Charlotte Burns works at the Environment Department at the University of York. If ever there was an organisation that would get closed down once this hysteria is past us, it is this one.

Its not easy, but visit all the staff and look at their sources of funding. I found one who had received £3,000,000 in grants from the European Commission.

The department also hosts a branch of the 'Stockholm Environment Institute'. Its annual reports are prototypes of obfuscation, but you will see the European Commission on the funders list of at least one financial report.

Big government funding people to say that big government is important for our future. Their future perhaps.

May 15, 2013 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMax Roberts

'The proliferation of bogus expertise continues its relentless growth. It has almost become the defining feature of the 21st-century West.'

May 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM | ...... agouts

Yes. It mirrors the rise in popularity of Twitter.

It is highly unlikely that this is coincidental.

May 15, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBullocky


"a rail journey through Silesia"

Upper Silesia, I hope..?

May 15, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Capell if you are so keen on clean energy please why has Germany ditched Nuclear power in favour of Wind Turbines ?

Might explain why the Germans are now having to dig up more Coal and import more Russian gas needed to back up the shortfull from the Wind Turbines.

May 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

A constant theme from AGW promotion groups is rent seeking. These groups are social parasites, producing little if anything of value and suck up resources which would be much better spent elsewhere.

May 15, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

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