One year on from the publication of the Natural Environment White Paper, The Wildlife Trusts welcome the Efra Select Committee report into the White Paper, published today.
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We agree with the Committee that leadership from the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, along with the Cabinet Office, is essential if Government is to fulfil its desire to be the ‘greenest government ever’. It is particularly encouraging that the Committee has recognised the importance of nature to our lives and the economy. A fundamental part of that is the successful delivery of the Natural Environment White Paper.
Though progress has been made on delivery of some White Paper commitments, The Wildlife Trusts share the Committee’s concerns that Defra has not published an overarching action plan for delivery of the Natural Environment White Paper’s aims and commitments.
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the conclusion within the Efra Select Committee report that Defra should use the pilot stage for Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) to clarify their specific objectives. However, Paul Wilkinson added: “The current priority should be for Nature Improvement Areas to be part and parcel of the planning system. They should be included in every new Local Plan and be identified as part of local ecological networks everywhere across England. We will keep up pressure on the Government to deliver against its vision to secure nature’s recovery.”
The Wildlife Trusts initiated the call for a White Paper in the run up to the last election believing that the time had come for the state to show leadership in securing nature’s recovery. In addition, following on from the publication of the National Ecosystem Assessment, it has called for the integration of the value of the natural environmental across Government policy and decision-making.
Anna Guthrie (Media & PR Manager)
Office: 01636 670075
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Notes for editors:
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.