Response to the Consultation on the Environmental Principles & Governance after the UK leaves the EU.
From Local Nature Partnerships across England
LNPs from across England compiled a collective response to the the governments recent consultation. See some exerts below, the full response can be viewed: LNPs Response to Consultation Principles Governance
LNPs have been cited as part of the implementation of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (25 YEP) through the development of Local Natural Capital Plans. In this light it was disappointing to see no mention of their role in this consultation document. We believe as individual LNPs and a national network we can play a very important part in delivery of the (25 Year Environment) plan provided we are properly resourced and empowered.
We welcome and commend the comprehensive coverage in the document of past, present and proposed future governance arrangements as well as some international comparisons. We also applaud the Government’s determination, frequently emphasised, to ‘leave our environment in a better state than that which was inherited’. This ambition should be strengthened with specific targets as “better than” is open to very wide interpretation.
We consider it worthwhile to look back at the history of environmental regulation and protection and consider why, as a totality, it has not been successful. In some aspects of environmental regulation, such as water and habitats, decarbonisation of the grid and uptake of renewables, there are strong foundations to build on and it will be essential that the new body does not allow this progress to be reversed. In other aspects, the direction of travel has been largely in a negative direction as evidenced in the State of Nature Report… It is essential to use this opportunity to simplify and clarify existing arrangements while retaining and enhancing protection of the environment if the outcomes we all desire are to be achieved. This also applies to the system of designations which can be totally baffling to anyone not fully immersed in them.
The principle of proportionality as outlined in paragraph 41 should be a key underlying prerequisite. We would assert in line with our understanding of Natural Capital Principles that a healthy environment underpins a healthy economy and a healthy population. In other words it is a prerequisite of prosperity rather than a competing agenda as implied in some of the wording. It therefore should have the very highest priority and where conflicts exist the environment should be accorded precedence. If a regenerative approach with a circular economy is adopted as well as the net gain principle implemented, we believe much potential conflict can be avoided….
In summary, this document and the proposed legislation is welcomed overall and very much needed. However, we do not believe that what is proposed in the consultation is yet adequate to ensure effective future oversight of environmental legislation and we make recommendations as to how it could be strengthened. We would welcome an opportunity to comment on a more detailed proposal after this consultation and offer the support and engagement of the nature partnerships in the next stages.