Every businessman and
woman is aware of their obligations to mitigate the effects of industrial operations upon
the environment on which we all depend. The expectations of environmentalists, however,
are all too often for results beyond the ability of industry to satisfy. Industry must
also remain competitive with parts of the world which show a more cavalier attitude to the
problem. Seldom do the short-term economic pressures take into account the full costs of
preventing or repairing environmental degradation, much of which is the legacy of less
enlightened times when our understanding of cause and effect was poorer.
Leaders of industry who are determined to address these
concerns, need the information and advice to guide their actions. During my term as
Chairman of The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust I have encouraged the Organisation to work
with industry towards lessening the impact of industrial activity on the environment.
Although conservation groups are right, given their constituency, to fight development and
environmental degradation, little can be achieved by an exclusively confrontational
approach and we need to work together for maximum effect, We must continue to get
our priorities right to get the greatest impact from the money we can make available.
During preparations for the production of the manual, WWT
scientists travelled the country looking for examples of best practice in this area. They
did turn up some interesting case histories, but often found that opportunities had been
missed to get the best environmental value-for-money. In general, the work confirmed the
need for a manual such as this. However well-meaning, those involved in the commercial
world need the help of ecologists and conservationists with an understanding of natural
processes and the way in which these might best be restored if their efforts and money are
to achieve the greatest effect.
This project will, I hope, illustrate how, by working
together, industry and conservation can act positively towards a better environment for us
all. I would like to thank British Coal Opencast for sponsoring this effort. I also
commend those in the environmental movement who worked on this project for taking this
positive attitude, and those in industry for working with people who they commonly
perceive to be reactionary antagonists to help redress the balance and make their
commercial activities more sustainable.