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Natural England (1 Viewer)

Chris Monk

Well-known member
Natural England faces cuts from day one

The Times

Preserve our natural world


Sir, Natural England comes into being tomorrow as an amalgam of the Government’s wildlife watchdog English Nature, the Rural Development Service and the Countryside Agency. Its creation is welcome and constitutes the biggest shake-up in conservation in England since the Second World War.
The new body faces many demanding tasks, not least tackling threats to sites of special scientific interest, reversing declines of wildlife and preventing damage to our environment. It will need to ensure an economically viable countryside, promote greater access to the natural world and help to establish a network of protected areas in British seas as part of a marine Act, which conservation groups are working hard to achieve.



Equally important will be its responsibility for the management of the countryside through schemes that reward farmers for encouraging wildlife, reducing water pollution and enhancing landscapes and public access. Last year’s EU budget, brokered by the UK, jeopardises funding for these schemes.

It is time to better protect and restore our countryside, urban greenspaces and seas for the benefit of both people and wildlife. This will not be achieved unless the Government commits adequate funding over the long term.


Arlin Rickard
Director, Association of Rivers Trusts

Amy Coyte
Chief Executive, Bat Conservation Trust

Martin Warren
Chief Executive, Butterfly Conservation

Shaun Spiers
Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England

Dr Mike Heyworth
Director, Council for British Archaeology

Ruth Chambers
Acting Chief Executive, Council for National Parks

Tony Juniper
Executive Director, Friends of the Earth

Tony Gent
Chief Executive, Herpetological Conservation Trust

Sam Fanshawe
Director of Conservation, Marine Conservation Society

Kate Ashbrook
General Secretary, Open Spaces Society

Dr Jayne Manley
Director of UK Operations, Plantlife International

Dr Stephen Head
Chief Executive, Ponds Conservation: The Water Habitats Trust

Christine Elliott
Chief Executive, The Ramblers' Association

Graham Wynne
Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Stephanie Hilborne
Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts

Chris Butler-Stroud
Chief Executive, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Martin Spray
Chief Executive, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Sue Holden
Chief Executive, The Woodland Trust

Paul King
Campaign Director, WWF-UK
 
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New body for countryside created

From BBC News web site:

New body for countryside created

The new body will aim to deliver recommendations by Lord Haskins
A new government agency for the countryside will be created when three existing organisations are merged.

Natural England will take over responsibility for resource management, conservation, biodiversity, landscape, access and recreation in rural areas.

From Sunday, English Nature will combine with parts of the Countryside Agency and Rural Development Service.

A report by Lord Haskins in 2003 said the current number of rural agencies was confusing and too bureaucratic.

'Environmental champion'

He recommended merging some of the many different agencies for the countryside into a new integrated rural body.

Natural England is designed to be a "strong, independent and powerful environmental champion".

A spokesman for Natural England said: "The aim is to meet the priorities as highlighted in the Haskins Report in rural delivery, wildlife conservation and countryside access."

The three bodies have been working together as a "confederation of partners" since April 2005.

Proposals to set up Natural England were contained in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill.

The handover of powers takes place on Sunday and the Sheffield-based agency will be formally launched on 11 October.
 
New biodiversity duty on all public bodies

New biodiversity duty on all public bodies

PRNewswire-GNN London 1 October

London, 1 October /PRNewswire-GNN/ --

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (424/06)
issued by The Government News Network on 1 October 2006

PLEASE NOTE EMBARGO
Not for publication or broadcast before
0001 hours Sunday 1 Oct 2006

From today, 1st October 2006, all public sector bodies, from the police to
the BBC, will have to consider biodiversity in the work they do.

The new duty comes under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural
Communities Act.

The aim is to raise the profile of biodiversity in England and Wales,
eventually to a point where biodiversity issues become second nature to
everyone making decisions in the public sector.

Over 900 public bodies will be affected, ranging from local authorities,
fire, police and health bodies, to museums and transport authorities.

Defra, in partnership with the Local Government Association, the Association of Local Government Ecologists, English Nature, the Countryside Council for Wales, Welsh Assembly and Wildlife and Countryside Link are working on developing guidance to assist those affected in fulfilling their responsibilities.

In recognition of the key role local authorities play with regard to conserving
and enhancing biodiversity, there will be two sets of guidance:

* specific guidance aimed at the needs and requirements of Local Authorities;
and
* a more generic guidance aimed at all public bodies affected.

The guidance will be produced in paper and electronic versions and is expected
to be published in early 2007.

Notes to Editors:

The NERC Act was granted Royal Assent on 30th March 2006. It delivers key
elements of the Rural Strategy and is an essential part of Defra's Modernising
Rural Delivery Programme. It establishes Natural England and the Commission
for Rural Communities as well as implementing a number of improvements to
wildlife, habitat, national parks and rights of way legislation.
Copies of the Act can be downloaded from the Defra website:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/ruraldelivery/bill/default.htm

Section 40 of the Act replaces and extends a duty, from Section 74 of the
Countryside and Rights Of Way Act 2000, on Ministers and Government which
already requires them to have regard to the purpose of conserving biodiversity.

S40 states that:
"Every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard,
so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the
purpose of conserving biodiversity."

For further information please contact Kathrina Mannion on Defra's UK
Biodiversity Policy Unit, [email protected]

Press enquiries 020 7238 5608; Public enquiries 08459 335577;
Press notices are available on our website
www.defra.gov.uk

Defra's aim is sustainable development
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Defra's mailing list go to:
http://www.gnn.gov.uk/
Once on the GNN website see Sign up


Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

Telephone 020 7238 1133
Fax 020 7238 5529
Out of hours telephone 020 7270 8960
Out of hours fax 020 7270 8125
Website www.defra.gov.uk




Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 
New landscape agency Natural England faces crunch time

New landscape agency Natural England faces crunch time

02/10/2006 16:07:00 Farmers Weekly

Natural England, the government's new landscape agency, faces a critical test as it takes on responsibility for agri-environment schemes, experts have warned.

Due to be launched on Monday (2 October), the flagship agency unites for the first time in a single body responsibility for landscape protection with the promotion of public access to the countryside.

Under its remit, Natural England will administer environmental agreements held by more than 40,000 farmers. These are currently overseen by the Rural Development Service and English Nature, which is being abolished.

The launch of Natural England illustrates the increasing importance placed on farmers as land managers rather than as food producers. But stakeholders said it could prove difficult to protect the landscape while enabling farmers to make a living.

Farm leaders believe schemes such as Environmental Stewardship are in danger of being under-funded. Just weeks before it was due to launch, Natural England was ordered to cut its budget by £12m as part of a DEFRA drive to save £200m.

"The biggest question hanging over the environment schemes is the level of funding the Treasury will provide - now and in the future," said David Fursdon, president of the Country Land and Business Association.

Conservationists also questioned whether the agency would meet its objectives. Martin Harper, head of government affairs at the RSPB, said: "A critical test of its success will be its ability to help meet government targets for nature conservation."

He added: "It will need sufficient resources, in particular to encourage wildlife-friendly farming. This is dependent on DEFRA and the Treasury agreeing adequate funding for both entry-level and higher-level Environmental Stewardship schemes."

The government claims farmers will find it simpler to get funding, help and advice from the new agency. It wants 60% of England's farmland to be under Environmental Stewardship by the end of 2007 - a target to which the agency has agreed.

Natural England deputy chairman Poul Christensen said it was impossible to shed any light on long-term funding arrangements. But he said the government was committed to environmental schemes that relied largely on European money.

"We must press - and we will press - the government to ensure that adequate money is transferred so we can fund these schemes into the future and deliver the environment that everybody wants and that, in my opinion, is essential."

Author: Johann Tasker
 
A Starved And Toothless Watchdog Could Do Little For Our Quality Of Life

A STARVED AND TOOTHLESS WATCHDOG COULD DO LITTLE FOR OUR QUALITY OF LIFE

As Natural England, the new official watchdog for landscape and wildlife comes into being, there is a real risk it will be too poor and too weak to make a difference.

This is the concern of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) {1} as Natural England takes over from the work of English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service from

1 October.

‘Natural England has been set up to be the nation’s independent watchdog for landscape, wildlife and access to the countryside. But savage cuts to its core funding mean that the organisation is seriously weakened even as it embarks on its crucial work,’ said Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy at CPRE. {2}

One of the most important aspects of Natural England’s work should be to make a substantial contribution to safeguarding the quality of life for everyone. CPRE is particularly keen that Natural England should show leadership in establishing robust and effective monitoring of countryside quality and in particular, tranquillity. This was promised by the Government in 2000 and has yet to be fully achieved.

‘There is also a long term threat to the level of funding Natural England will be able to award to farmers to manage and enhance our landscapes and the wildlife that inhabits them. The farming community has been told for years that it should commit itself to delivering things the public want - healthy, abundant wildlife, characterful landscapes and more extensive public access to the countryside.

Unless the Government acts swiftly and decisively, there simply won’t be the resources available for farmers to undertake environmentally sensitive land management,’ Tom Oliver continued.

‘Natural England faces huge challenges before it has even begun its work. We look forward to working with the new agency to help it secure the resources it needs to deliver a high quality environment for town and country.’

- END –

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Sir Max Hastings. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.

2. After inheriting a substantially reduced budget for 2005/6 from its predecessor agencies, Natural England has had to find a further £12.9m in savings as well as a separate £3m ‘efficiency saving’.

Published on this Website: 29-Sep-2006
 
Building trust will be key to Natural England's success

http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2006/10/04/98432/Building+trust+will+be+key+to+Natural+England's+success.html
 
Natural England starts work

Natural England starts work

Wednesday 04 October 2006

A new non-departmental public body designed to boost England’s conservation and environment has officially started work this week.

Natural England was established as part of the 2004 Rural Strategy and Defra’s Delivery Strategy, and amalgamates English Nature and parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service.

“The creation of Natural England is a landmark for the conservation and enhancement of England’s natural environment,” commented Natural England’s Chief Executive Dr. Helen Philips. “Natural England has been created at a time of growing concern over the use of the world’s natural resources and over climate change. Our aim is to conserve, enhance and manage the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development.”

Natural England will be launched nationally on October 11th.
 
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