7 June 2011
The government has today announced ambitious new plans to help protect and improve England’s natural environment.
The plans are contained in ‘The Natural Choice’, the first White Paper on the natural environment in 20 years, and are directly linked to the groundbreaking research in the National Ecosystem Assessment published last week that showed the strong economic arguments for safeguarding and enhancing the natural environment.
The White Paper also acts on the recommendations of ‘Making Space for Nature’ (PDF), a report into the state of England’s wildlife sites, led by Professor John Lawton and published in September 2010, which showed that England’s wildlife sites are fragmented and vulnerable to change.
Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England welcomed today’s announcement: “For decades the natural world has been seriously undervalued - habitats have been lost and species have continued to decline. This cannot be regarded as a matter of passing regret and the loss of natural capital has real implications for our economy and for people’s health and well-being.
It is clear that we need to think big – tackling environmental problems at a scale that can make a genuine impact and involving all sectors of society in developing solutions, from Big Society through to big business. The White Paper sets an ambitious direction for environmental policy for the next half century and presents a real opportunity to change the way we think about the natural environment and the role it plays in our lives.”
Key measures in the White Paper, which also takes forward recommendations contained in ‘Making Space for Nature’, include:
Connecting people and nature for better quality of life
Capturing and improving the value of nature
To accompany the launch of ‘The Natural Choice’, Natural England has today published ThinkBIG: How and why landscape-scale conservation benefits wildlife, people and the wider economy.
This report, produced on behalf of the England Biodiversity Group, explains the reasons for adopting a landscape-scale approach to nature conservation and highlights the wider economic and social benefits (known as ecosystem services) that this approach can provide. The report provides information relevant to local authorities, land managers, farmers, and local communities, in support of the Government’s aspirations around landscape scale conservation.
Natural England have also joined forces with the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission to issue the following joint statement: (105kb), underlining the determination of the three agencies to work together to deliver the ambitious proposals set out in “The Natural Choice” White Paper.