The Natural Environment White Paper (NEWP) entitled "The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature" was launched by Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 7th June 2011 and is a bold and ambitious statement of the Government's vision for the natural environment for the next 50 years, backed up with practical action to help deliver that ambition.
The White Paper is the first comprehensive statement of government policy on the environment for over 20 years and it signals a significant shift in the direction of environmental policy, setting out the blueprint for environmental ambition and action to 2060 and beyond and placing the natural environment at the heart of national and local decision making. It sets out the choices our nation must make: how best to enhance our environment, to sustain economic growth and to boost wellbeing.
Key Measures in the White Paper include:
- Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), transforming rural and urban areas and providing bigger, connected sites for wildlife to live in and adapt to climate change. With a £7.5 million fund for 12 initial NIAs to demonstrate just what can be done.
- Biodiversity offsetting - new way for developers to ensure we don't lose wildlife sites and make them better by making and improving other sites.
- Local Nature Partnerships to strengthen joined-up action across local agencies and organisations, with a £1 million available this year.
- Green Areas Designation allowing local communities to give protection to areas that are important to them for recreation, the view or their importance for wildlife.
- Learning Outdoors. More children experiencing nature through practical support to schools and reducing red-tape for outdoor learning.
- "Muck in 4 Life". New environmental volunteering initiative to improve places in towns and countryside for people and nature to enjoy.
- Natural Capital Committee - an independent body to report to the Government's economic affairs committee chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This body will put the value of nature at the heart of the Government's economic thinking, and advise Government about the best way of securing our natural assets for the future.
Local Nature Partnerships
A one-off LNP capacity building fund was made available in 2011 and has now closed. 47 potential LNPs received a share of the £1million funding, which is now being administered by Natural England
Click here for further information and a list of successful partnerships
Nature Improvement Areas
The 12 succesful Nature Improvement Areas applications can be viewed on this map
For more information on NIAs please click here
To accompany the launch of ‘The Natural Choice', Natural England also published ThinkBIG: How and why landscape-scale conservation benefits wildlife, people and the wider economy
The Lawton Report, Making Space for Nature, produced on behalf of the England Biodiversity Group, explains the reasons for adopting a landscape-scale approach to nature conservation and highlights the wider economic and social benefits of adopting this approach. Its finding inspired much of the content of the NEWP.
Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission have also joined forces to issue a joint statement underlining the determination of the three agencies to work together to deliver the ambitious proposals in the NEWP.