Politics is not a subject for polite company, but I’m going to delve a little way into politics as it affects LIPU in Italy. My annual Council Tax bill tells me that I am paying for a County Council, a District Council and even a Parish Council and, yes, there are other costs as well. The structure of this bureaucracy is not far removed from that of Italy where we can see Regions, Provinces and Communes responsible for providing various services.
Many are the countries with financial problems at the moment and even the mildest assessment of Italy’s condition would say that it is far from healthy – and the Italian national government is trying to improve matters by cutting costs. It would like to remove the whole local government layer at provincial level saying that this would improve efficiency and make great savings in expenditure.
The problem for us is that the Raptor Recovery Centres operated and managed by LIPU are almost all funded by the province in which they are located – and the province no longer has any money. LIPU finds itself with a difficult decision – does it close the centres, or divert precious funds to keeping them open and continuing an operation which has always been financed with public funds.
It is another example, and there are many more around Europe, of government priorities pushing anything to do with the environment to the very bottom of the list and it is difficult to see how this can be reversed. Over many years we have helped the Recovery Centres with funds to buy the medicines and equipment needed for their important day to day work and we will continue to do so. However, this does not relieve the government of Italy at national, regional or provincial level of its responsibility to protect the wild creatures entrusted to its care.
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