Government proposals to protect, enhance natural environment examined

14 July 2011

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has today announced a new inquiry into the Natural Environment White Paper.

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 is seeking evidence from interested parties and invites 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?

The Committee invites all interested parties to address these and related matters in writing by Monday 26 September. More information about the required format of submissions is given below. Further information will be published in due course on oral evidence sessions to be held in the New Year.

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

Notes on the submission of evidence

Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to  The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the matters outlined above. They should be as brief as possible, and no more than 2000 words.  Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. 

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

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