According to the British Independent Newspaper (5.1.01) it seems that the quango Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has decided that the new Nessie "protection" board will comprise "experts" from:
  1. itself.
  2. the Scottish Environmental Protection Board (SEPA),
  3. the Ness District Fishery Board (basically representing landowners who are understandably keen to stop poaching in local waterways)
  4. the Loch Ness Project (for those who don't know: this is located at (and financially assisted by) the Loch Ness 2000 exhibition (which is managed by a director of another one of our many local unelected quangos). The Loch Ness Project is run by the former monster hunter and formally unqualified Mr. Adrian Shine and it apparently conducts some sort of "research" in Loch Ness)
  5. someone from Highland Council.
There is nothing apparently wrong with any of these choices but it is very interesting that nobody else has been approached or included. I'll be putting many questions to the government on this one (plus possibly filing a formal complaint against SNH for maladministration since it appears that SNH has been issuing contradictory statements about what it has and has not already done). It is a tax-payer funded organisation and it has to be fully accountable to us under the law.

I also wonder what "scientists" from the local area will be selected? Apart from SNH & SEPA (both government bodies), the panel already mentioned doesn't appear to contain any (I believe that the formally unqualified Mr. Shine, for example, calls himself a "naturalist" rather than a scientist).

So we need to ask: Why, for example has SNH talked about "consulting" with interested parties in this area with a view to setting up a "voluntary code"? Apart from one latter-day monster myth debunker, I haven't been able to find anyone around here who has been consulted. And SNH tries to indicate that the Panel of experts has still to be set up, yet the many press stories imply that it has already given Jan Sundberg and his GUST team "permission" to drop his nets in Loch Ness.

Think about it. Both things cannot be true: Either the new Panel does not yet exist - in which case it obviously could not give permission to anyone to do anything (and in which case SNH should issue demands for corrections to all parts of the media that have stated that it does exist) -

OR it does actually exist and SNH has been misleading us by stating that it is only planning to set-up a Panel and a Voluntary Code of Practice. If SNH has been misleading us I will file a formal complaint against it - we don't need to allow the civil service to mislead us in this country. I do not intend to allow bodies like SNH to get away with pulling the wool over our eyes or forming hand- picked cartels seemingly intent on setting up rules & regulations which others are expected to follow.

This is a very messy story and one thing is for sure: SNH has got egg all over its face and it may well be in serious hot water.

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