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banner Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Mowlam calls for environment lottery
By BBC News Online political correspondent Nick Assinder

Cabinet "enforcer" Mo Mowlam has called for the creation of a global lottery to help save the environment.

Speaking at a fringe meeting organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, she said urgent action was needed to tackle vital environmental issues.

She had recently visited Bogota and had witnessed at first-hand the erosion of its jungle and the pollution of its rivers, she said.

Yet the countries most affected simply did not have the resources to tackle the problems - they needed help from the rest of the world, she said.

"I have a fantasy about a world lottery to raise money for these countries who cannot do it themselves," she said.

The cash raised would be used specifically to stop the destruction of the rain forests and to tackle other key environmental issues, she said.

The meeting in Brighton was held against a background of noisy protests by the Countryside Alliance which has attempted to lay siege to the party conference.

Dr Mowlam said that, as with the recent fuel tax protests, she had no objection to protest.

Populist approach

"It is a part of the democratic process. But if it gets to the point, as it did with the fuel tax stuff, where it is beginning to affect the rights of others then that is when it gets unacceptable," she said.

And she claimed there was a "growing and quite frightening" populist approach in current British politics where acceptable protest was crossing the line into threats.

Dr Mowlam also spelt out the government's record on environmental issues and stressed that her role in cabinet was to ensure that environmental concerns were included in policies from all Whitehall departments.

She said the soon-to-be-published white paper would be the result of "two years of listening to the needs of people who live in the country.

"Many who do not live in the countryside see a quality of life they envy," she said.

But there were the same concerns over issues like health, education, jobs and crime as there were in cities.

"These things are crucial and they are the people's priorities and we are working to make them ours too," she said.

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26 Sep 00 | Labour
Government's green challenge
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