COMMONS

Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum inquiry launched

21 July 2016

The Environmental Audit Committee launches an inquiry into the future of the natural environment in the light of the EU referendum.  

Issues include the future of funding for biodiversity and agri-environment schemes, the likely changes in the devolved administration, and the role that managed rewilding can play in conservation and restoration.

Background

Agricultural landowners are important stewards of the UK’s natural environment. Financial incentives from the Common Agricultural Policy aim to promote positive actions and outcomes in public goods such as biodiversity, water quality, and flood risk management. These payments represent one of the most important funding sources for environmental schemes in the United Kingdom. 

With the UK poised to the leave the European Union these arrangements may not remain in place - and the Government would need to decide whether or not to continue financial support for farmers and agri-environment schemes. We will be investigating how the Government's future policies on agriculture can ensure that protecting the environment remains a key goal. 

We will also investigate the role that managed rewilding can play in the conservation and restoration of habitats and wildlife, and examine its wider environmental, social and economic impacts.

The Committee invites submissions on some or all of the questions below: 

  • What are the implications for UK biodiversity of leaving the EU, in particular the Common Agricultural Policy? To what extent do initiatives to support biodiversity in the UK depend on CAP-related payments? What risks and opportunities could developing our own agri-environment policy and funding present?
  • How should future support for UK agriculture be structured in order to ensure there are incentives for environmentally-friendly land management? What are the positives/negatives of current schemes (e.g. Countryside Stewardship) that should be retained/avoided?
  • How should future UK agri-environment support be administered, and what outcomes should it focus on?
  • What are the prospects and challenges for future environmental stewardship schemes in the devolved administrations? How much divergence in policy between the nations of the United Kingdom is likely? How can divergence be managed?
  • What are the future risks and opportunities to innovative land practices, such as managed rewilding? What role can rewilding play in conservation and restoration of habitats and wildlife? What evidence is there to support the incentivising of such schemes in any new land management policies?  

Deadline for submissions

The deadline for submissions Friday 9 September 2016. The word limit is 3,000 words. Send a written submission using the form on the inquiry page.

The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind if asked to appear. 

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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