Friday 17 December 2010

Record response to the Natural Environment White Paper

My blog has been a little quiet over the last month – too much other stuff to do. But, following my last missives on the subject, you may be interested to know how the consultation on the White Paper went. Well, I think it’s fair to say that the input into the consultation was pretty good - a record number of people according to the DEFRA press release.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said:

“I’m delighted with the overwhelming response that we have had to our call for ideas on the Natural Environment White Paper. We’ve received over 15,000 replies from individuals, NGOs and businesses, which goes to show that people really care about the natural environment and want a say in how it is managed.

“This is exactly the kind of debate that we had hoped to stimulate. A healthy environment is something that we all need, and all enjoy, so it’s vital that people get involved. We will take these ideas forward as we look to create a new vision for our natural environment and seek opportunities to enhance its value".

This overwhelming response provides a clear message to the Government that people care passionately about the natural environment and want to see bold and ambitious action to support its recovery.

Thousands of people therefore chose to take action and show how much they value wildlife. I suppose a record response is pretty good, but in Sussex alone I wrote to 17,000 memberships so presumably some decided not to respond – shame on them!

More good news is that Debbie Tann, the Chief Exec of the Hants WT, and a good chum, has been seconded into the DEFRA team to help write the White Paper. So hopefully she’ll be able to exert some influence.

So, things are moving on. If you want to see my response to the consultation go to,
where you will also find the response of the Sussex Biodiversity Partnership.

Work continues to develop the White Paper for publication in the spring. As part of this, more detail has now been published on defra’s thinking so far on "biodiversity offsetting", where society is compensated for environmental loss through building development, by a developer paying to create or restore an area of habitat elsewhere. More on this in a later blog post.

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