LI Policy Committee’s response to the Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP), which sets out the government’s vision for the natural environment over the next 50 years

Defra's White Paper
Defra's White Paper

Many parts of the White Paper, which was published on 7 June, appear to be positive and fit well with what the LI has been advocating over the past three years. These include:

  • Recognition of the intrinsic value of nature
  • More precise approach to the value of the natural environment, i.e. putting a price on what nature contributes, in the form of the UK National Ecosystems Assessment
  • Promotion of action across sectors – nature at the heart of government, business and local communities
  • Commitment to takes a strategic approach to planning for nature within and across local areas
  • “Economic growth and the natural environment are mutually compatible. Sustainable economic growth relies on services provided by the natural environment”
  • “We should not be thinking of isolated spots of green on a map of England but of a thriving green network linking sites with farmland, forestry, and urban parks and gardens across the country”

However, the LI also has some criticisms of the document. These include:

  • Biodiversity offsetting
  • Emphasis on local business, citizens and interest groups to take the lead. Although this is in line with the ‘Big Society’, there is no mention of the funding required to do this. It also fails to state that private ownership of significant amounts of land is one of the key obstacles to connected, multi-functional landscapes
  • There is no reference to the European Landscape Convention of which the UK is a signatory
  • No reference is paid to the need to coordinate work between government departments, particularly at the policy level between Defra, CLG and HM Treasury

For the full response, including the opportunities highlighted for LI members, click here

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