One responsibility given to the new Environment and Food Bureau covers the ozone layer and its greenhouse effect. The action officials are expected to take is not specified, but of one thing they can be certain: the public expects them to reach the heights in carrying out their duties. There has been a high price to pay for the existence of this office. The electorate has lost a tier of government that gave it a more direct say in the day-to-day running of the territory. Because the soon-to-be defunct councils made such a mess of the bird flu crisis, there is a muted welcome for the bureau, but it must show itself to be cost-saving, efficient and far-sighted, as well as in tune with public opinion on issues like the labelling of genetically modified foods. The positive aspect of the changeover is that there will be a central authority responsible for all matters involving food production and related issues. If any such crisis arises again, we can expect the response to be well co-ordinated. Sadly, given the agricultural and food industries' propensity for experimentation, plus environmental degradation in the SAR, the bureau may have its work cut out. It is up to the new director and her staff to prove they can do a far better job than the councils they replace.