The House of Lords Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 has today formally launched its call for evidence.
The Committee has been set up to review the effectiveness of the legislation in ensuring the UK has a rich and diverse natural environment, with thriving rural communities. The Committee will explore whether any aspects of the Act need to be re-considered or updated as a result of developments since 2006, in order to support the environment, ecosystems and society we live in.
Issues on which the Committee is seeking submissions, and which it will explore throughout the inquiry, include:
- Whether enough is being done to ensure that policies are rural-proofed at national and local levels.
- Who is taking the lead on policy for rural areas – and who should be taking the lead on such matters.
- Whether changes are needed to the remit and responsibilities of Natural England as a result either of Brexit or of other significant developments since 2006.
- Whether the duty to ‘have regard’ to biodiversity, which is contained within the Act, is properly applied, and the impact the duty has had since introduction.
Commenting Lord Cameron of Dillington, Chairman of the Committee, said:
“The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 sought to deliver against the then Government’s Rural Strategy; it established the now disbanded Commission for Rural Communities and created Natural England.
“It has an extremely broad remit that is supposed to protect the environment and biodiversity while also promoting the needs of rural communities. Eleven years on we need to ask whether this Act and the current delivery structures approach these issues in the right way.
“An examination of this legislation is crucial to maintaining and enhancing our environment and our rural communities for the benefit of everyone – particularly given the wide-ranging changes that will result from Brexit. I encourage anyone who can inform the Committee’s inquiry to submit written evidence.”
This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee. The deadline is 4pm on Monday 11 September 2017.