Dear Mr Pursglove, Happy New Year!

Thank you for the letter, dated 20 January from Defra which you passed on to me and I received yesterday. I am grateful to you for your efforts on my behalf.

However, the letter was in response to your letter on 18 August when you forwarded my letter to you of 10 August. It has taken Defra five and a half months to reply to our request. This is unacceptable – isn’t it?

Am I right to think that I can complain to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman about this appalling level of service from a government department https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/making-complaint/what-we-can-and-cant-help but only if I first complain directly to Defra?

I have today complained to the Defra Service Standards Complaints Adjudicator and copied you in on the complaint  [see previous blog post]. As I understand it this may be a 2-stage process which has to be exhausted before I can go to the PHSO – is that right please?

When I wrote to you it was summer and Swifts were flying over my house in Raunds, HM The Queen was on the throne, Boris Johnson was Prime Minister and George Eustice was at Defra. In the time it has taken for Defra to reply to you (and me) the Swifts have travelled to sub-Saharan Africa and winter thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings, are now flying over my house, we have a new (now newish) monarch, we ‘gained’ and lost Liz Truss as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has now been PM for almost twice as long as Ms Truss, Ranil Jayawardena has come and gone from Defra and we now have Therese Coffey.
During that time inflation has soared and the economy has tanked. Might it be that the government of which you are a member is totally incompetent across the board – from running the country to answering correspondence?

A further thought occurs to me. Given the level of industrial unrest we now see, it can’t be that Defra has been on strike for months and nobody told us, could it? They are certainly on a go-slow.

I would like your advice on how to push home a complaint about Defra please. And very specifically, do you think that the fact that you did not get a reply for over five months was acceptable?

And by the way, today is the last day of the petition about which I wrote to you. It has passed 107,000 signatures and limiting the shooting season of Woodcock will be debated in Westminster Hall in due course. Here is the link – click here.

many thanks for your efforts on my behalf,

Dr Mark Avery

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