Essex Biodiversity Project
21 NOVEMBER 2013 - NATURE CHECK REPORT 2013
Wildlife and Countryside Link, supported by 41 leading environmental groups, published its third assessment of the Coalition Government's progress against its commitments to the natural environment in England on 19 November.
Of the 25 commitments the Government has made to the natural environment, only 4 are rated as 'Green', (none of which are related to domestic UK wildlife), 12 are 'Amber' and 9 are 'Red'. The committment ; ‘We will implement the Biodiversity Strategy and build natural capital through Local Nature Partnerships.’ , receives the comment that, "Synergies between delivery mechanisms and programmes for specific species are being pursued, but the Biodiversity Strategy is underfunded and
behind schedule, and partners – including Local Nature Partnerships – are insufficiently supported to deliver against it ". It is noted that the Business Plan for DEFRA has lost the commitments to ‘integrate the value of nature into policy development’ and to support Local Nature Partnerships.
Of the department’s 24 headline actions, only one is dedicated to biodiversity (‘Set the strategic direction on conservation and biodiversity at home and abroad’). The report is critical of changes to streamline the Planning system and of the failure of planning authorities and the Communities Secretary, The report comments that, 'It is far from clear whether the presumption in favour of sustainable development – or the wider National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – is
delivering for the natural environment and communities. Where Local Plans are absent, decisions made based on the NPPF have not always provided the appropriate balance of economic, environmental and social needs.' 'There is a lack of parity in the application of planning commitments on the natural environment compared with, for example, those for allocating land for housing.'
Amongst the Report's final conclusions is this; 'The mistaken belief that environmental protection, regulation and economic growth cannot go hand in hand must be abandoned, together with the
focus on short-term gains as opposed to long-term sustainability. Instead, more attention should be paid to the evidence, which shows that environmental regulation has a benefit to cost ratio of at least 2:1, and that for biodiversity-related regulations this ratio is almost 9:1.'
The Press Release on the Wildlife Trust website is available here; http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/news/2013/11/18/prime-minister-must-do-more-nature
The Press Release from Wildlife and Countryside Link is available here; http://www.wcl.org.uk/nature-check.asp
The Full Report (1.33MB PDF) is available here; http://www.wcl.org.uk/docs/Link_Nature_Check_Report_November_2013.pdf
12 NOVEMBER 2013
The Guardian today hosted a live on-line debate about the process of "biodiversity offsetting". Six Pilot projects have been operated for a 2 year period which is due to expire next Spring, and Essex is one of the pilot areas. Even though the results of these trials are not yet available, the Government has already included the concept in proposed legislation. The Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons is very critiical of the proposal, and of the concept of biodiversity offsetting, Read the debate at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/12/biodiversity-offsetting-license-trash-nature
© Essex Biodiversity Project 2012
Essex Wildlife Trust, The Joan Elliot Visitor Centre, Abbotts Hall Farm,
Great Wigborough, Colchester, Essex CO5 7RZ, United Kingdom