It's not the first thing you would expect to hear from the man in charge of the government's environmental policy.

But then this is Owen Paterson, who recently accused badgers of "moving the goalposts" and outraged the morris dancing community.

In an appearance before MPs, the Tory environment secretary explained how he saw his role.

owen paterson

What is he on about?

“I don’t want to protect the environment, I want to improve it,” he told the environment select committee.

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The Times clarified with his spokesman that Paterson had in fact meant that "he wants to go beyond only protecting it ... to also make things better”.

Meanwhile, the Independent revealed that Paterson had yet to be briefed about climate change by the government's chief scientific adviser after 14 months in the job.

Nothing to worry about there, then.