The Ventilator

Incorporating The Ranger's Blog

Wildlife & countryside news

Government pro-chips website batters National Parks

Matthew Chatfield

Earlier on this month we learnt that the government is to review official websites. Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude promised a review which he says could see up to 75% of government websites shut down. Now, thanks to a question asked in parliament by Tom Watson MP, we can see exactly which websites will stay and which will go in DEFRA, the department most concerned with the environment. The results are interesting reading, and maybe shed some light on the new government’s priorities.

National Parks website

The full list of those that will stay and those that will go can be found on, and is worth perusing. But here are some highlights. Perhaps the highest-profile casualty is which, like other websites on the hitlist, is destined for closure by April 2011. A lively, regularly-updated site, this is the central and official portal for all things to do with Britain’s national parks. Interestingly it covers the whole of Britain and has not been devolved – maybe this counted against it. However it does have a whole load of good, regularly-updated content – this must cost quite a bit to keep going. By contrast, there are quite a few websites on this list that really wouldn’t cost anything more than pin-money to keep going. When a project is finished, it’s sometimes useful to keep its archive or results online. Admittedly there will be a hosting cost but this is trivial. Examples of sites which are not, or need not be, regularly updated but which still have value include and

UK BAP website

Perhaps most alarming are a couple of websites that really, one struggles to imagine not existing. Unless the minister is disingenuously naming websites that will just be renamed and moved elsewhere, is it really the government’s intention to close down the Rural Payments Agency website? Or put a stop to the long tradition of distributing knowledge via Forest Research? Assuming both these agencies continue working, they’re going to need websites. Assuming.

Love chips!

Still, it’s not all bad news. No sir! The government is protecting front-line services, whatever they are. So we will not be losing such vital websites as and Nice. Edit: see follow-up post HERE.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

4 thoughts on “Government pro-chips website batters National Parks

  • There is a lot of cross-over and duplicatiion in these websites. Some of the content of the ones set to close could quite easily and logically be redistributed to ones staying open. Just hope that is there intention.

  • Rural Payments Agency’ and ‘working’ in the same sentence – you don’t see that very often…

    There’s a lot of useful stuff on the websites set to close – and a lot of tosh on the ones to remain open – will be interesting to see whether the resources are lost forever or (hopefully) just redistributed…

  • Interesting how a change of administrations can affect what the government is posting on the internet. I guess it all depends on what message they are trying to get out, hopefully it will be a “green” message.

    Believe me its not much different here in the states.

  • Wildlife Gardener

    I fear the obesity crisis: now you can find out all about chips, but not about where to walk the damn things off….?


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.