COMMONS

Natural Environment White Paper - further information

Background to inquiry

Oral evidence session on 29 June 2011

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee held an oral evidence session in relation to Defra’s Natural Environment White Paper, The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature, published on 7 June.

The Committee heard the initial responses from a range of interested parties to the White Paper’s themes and proposals.  It is confirmed that witnesses will include representatives from the National Trust, Wildlife and Countryside Link, the National Farmers’ Union, PwC, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and Defra.

To help inform this session, the Committee invited any interested party to submit in writing their brief comments setting out initial reactions to the Natural Environment White Paper, focussing in particular on:

  • Any key elements in the White Paper which are supported;
  • Any particular sections which could be improved;
  • Any omissions from the White Paper which Defra should rectify.

In addition, the Committee welcomed suggestions for issues it may wish to include in terms of reference for a possible future Select Committee inquiry into detailed aspects of the White Paper.

New inquiry announced on 14 July 2011

Proposals set out in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper, The Natural Choice; securing the value of nature, published on 7 June, will be the focus of a new inquiry by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Launching the inquiry, Anne McIntosh, chair of EFRA Committee said:  

“In what is the first White Paper on the natural environment to be produced for twenty years, the Government says it wants to be the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited.

“Our inquiry will ask how well the Government’s proposals are likely to protect the environment for future generations, make the economy more environmentally sustainable or improve quality of life and well-being.

The committee sought evidence from interested parties and invited submissions on the following areas:

  • What actions are required across Government Departments, from local government and by civil society to deliver the White Paper’s proposals to grow a green economy and reconnect people with nature?
  • Will the institutional framework outlined for delivering the proposals (in particular Nature Improvement Areas and Local Nature Partnerships) be effective? Does the proposed Natural Capital Committee have sufficient powers?
  • What further research and/or evidence is required to develop practical programmes sufficiently detailed to deliver the White Paper’s ambition to fully embed the value of nature into policy delivery?
  • What evidence is there from other countries that the approaches proposed in the White Paper can be successfully applied in practice?
  • What  resources will be needed to fully deliver the White Paper’s ambitions and how can these best be provided? How might the value of ‘services’ provided by ecosystems to beneficiaries be translated into spending that will enhance the natural environment?
  • Does the White Paper set out an accurate assessment of the barriers to public engagement with the natural environment and make the most effective proposals for re-engagement?

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Sarah Coe, Environment Specialist to the Committee, on 020 7219 2290.
 

Oral evidence

The transcripts of the sessions listed below will be published with the Report.

1. Wednesday 29 June 2011 - (corrected transcript)

Oral evidence from representatives of National Farmers’ Union, National Trust, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, Wildlife & Countryside Link, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV

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2. Wednesday 11 January 2012 - (corrected transcript) 

Witnesses:

At 3.00 pm

  • Pavan Sukhdev, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)
  • Chris Knight, PricewaterhouseCoopers

At 3.45 pm approx

  • Jonathan Garrett, Balfour Beatty
  • Chris Matthews, United Utilities
  • Paul Allison, British Aggregates Association

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV

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3. Wednesday 18 January 2012 - (corrected transcript) 

Witnesses:

At 3.00 pm

  • Paul Wilkinson, Wildlife and Countryside Link,
  • Rodney Whittaker, The Ramblers,
  • Dr Simon Pryor, National Trust,
  • Ben Stafford, Campaign to Protect Rural England

At 4.00 pm (approx)

  • Dr Diane Mitchell, National Farmers' Union,
  • Harry Cotterell, Country Land and Business Association

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV  

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4. Wednesday 25 January 2012 - (uncorrected transcript)

Witnesses:

At 3.00 pm

  • Cllr David Parsons, Chair Local Government Association (LGA) Environment and Housing Board
  • Tony Bradford, Head of Countryside Services, Hertfordshire County Council, representing the LGA
  • Dr Hugh Ellis, Chief Planner, Town and Country Planning Association

At 4.00 pm approx

  • Prof David Hill, Chairman, The Environment Bank Ltd

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV

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5. Wednesday 29 February 2012 - (uncorrected transcript)

Witnesses:

At 1.00 pm

  • Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State, Cabinet Office
  • Chloe Smith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV

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6. Wednesday 18 April 2012

Witness:

  • Richard Benyon MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries

Watch webcast of session on Parliament Live TV

Written evidence

Written evidence received

Call for evidence