Government agencies must focus on delivery for nature - Triennial Review response
Thursday 27th June 2013
cpt Matthew Roberts
Today’s decision by the Government not to merge Natural England and the Environment Agency is a welcome move.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that a merger at this time would create a major distraction and a prolonged period of disruption and navel gazing, when the pressures on nature grow and a strong statutory voice for nature is essential.
The critical thing is for these organisations to deliver for the environment
Natural England and the Environment Agency perform different but complementary functions. They now have the opportunity to prove how, by working more closely together, they can achieve more for wildlife on land, in our rivers and at sea.
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“The critical thing is for these organisations to deliver for the environment. By doing so, they will play their part in delivering sustainable development.
“This Review has shown both agencies play vital roles. The performance of these roles must now be maximised as they will need to provide essential scientific evidence and advice to Government, local authorities and other stakeholders. More than ever, they will need to assess the impacts of infrastructure development – roads, housing and energy - on our natural systems, and seek gains for nature. They must also work with partners at a local level to ensure that the ambitions of the Natural Environment White Paper and Marine Act are achieved.
“It is essential that, as Defra works out where the axe will fall on its departmental budget, these agencies are spared the worst of the pain and given the resources they need to do their job.”
On 12 December 2012, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced the Triennial Review of the Environment Agency and Natural England. The review was part of the government’s rolling programme of triennial reviews of public bodies, to consider whether the functions carried out are still required and whether the delivery model is right and offers value for money.