£3.9 billion for the
Defra News Release Ref:
100/07 29 March 2007
A £3.9 billion budget for
the new Rural Development Programme for England 2007 to 2013 has been
agreed. This is more than double the budget available for the previous
programme which ran from 2000-2006. This programme will implement the
European Rural Development Regulation - also known as the Second Pillar
of the Common Agricultural Policy.
£3.3 billion of the total
budget will be allocated to agri-environment and other land management
schemes. This funding will help farmers manage the land more sustainably
and deliver important environmental outcomes on biodiversity, landscape
and access, water quality and climate change. Some £600 million will
also be made available to make agriculture and forestry more competitive
and sustainable and to enhance opportunity in rural areas.
The rate of voluntary
modulation (the transfer of funds from farming subsidies in the first
pillar of the CAP to rural development schemes) required to underpin
this budget will be 12% for 2007, rising to 13% for 2008, and 14% for
the years 2009-2012.
80% of the money raised
through voluntary modulation will fund agri-environment schemes and will
be co-financed by the UK Government at a rate of 40%. This means that
for every £60 raised for agri-environment schemes through voluntary
modulation, the Government will contribute a further £40 from national
funds. Based on current plans, this decision to co-finance voluntary
modulation will result in a net total increase to overall CAP spending
in England of some £725 million by end 2013.
schemes in particular will help Defra to achieve Public Service
Agreement (PSA) targets on farmland birds and sites of special
scientific interest (SSSIs) as well as delivering wider biodiversity
benefits and important elements of natural resource protection and
sustainable landscape management.
Scotland Wales and
Northern Ireland will all be submitting separate programmes.
The Guardian 21 March
Since 2003, Lundy Island
has been England's only designated marine nature reserve, and has been
held up by conservationists as a potential model for many other marine
protection areas, which they say are desperately needed after years of
industrial fishing and exploitation of the seabed around the UK.
Even the limited
protection afforded to Lundy, they say, shows how quickly sea life can
recover when given a break from intensive fishing. Since trawling for
fish and scallops was more or less halted there in 2003, lobsters seven
times bigger than those found in nearby waters have been seen, fish
numbers and species are said to have increased, and much other sea life
is now flourishing.
Last week, the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) promised many more areas
like Lundy. Coming good on Labour's election pledge to reform marine
protection laws, it published a marine white paper - a draft of
proposals - which, after a 12-week consultation period, could become law
within a year or two if it is included in the Queen's speech in
outlines plans in Marine Bill White Paper
DEFRA News 15 March 2007
A radical new approach to
protecting and using the marine environment was set out today in
proposals published by Defra. The White Paper provides an opportunity
for people to help shape plans for the Government's Marine Bill.
The proposals include:
• a new UK-wide system of
• a streamlined, transparent and consistent system for licensing marine
• a new mechanism to protect marine biodiversity, including marine
• improvements to the management of marine fisheries
• the creation of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to join up
the approach to the marine environment.
David Miliband, said: “Protecting our seas is one of the biggest
environmental challenges after climate change and the two are closely
“I have often said that
we afford much more protection to our natural environment on land
because we can see it, but our marine environment suffers because its
life is under water where it is not easily observed.
consultation, we want to ensure that the Marine Bill provides us with
the tools to effectively manage activities in the marine area. We must
deliver the right balance between protection of the environment and
social and economic needs.
“A new marine planning
system lies at the heart of our proposals. It will enable us to take a
strategic approach to marine activities throughout our waters. It will
benefit all those who use our seas and will be key to securing the
maximum sustainable benefits from our marine resources, whilst ensuring
we can provide proper protection for them.
The document's twelve
week consultation period will conclude on 8 June.
New Bill and strategy lay foundations for tackling climate change
DEFRA News Ref: 76/07 13
The was today set out by
Environment Secretary David Miliband. The draft Climate Change Bill, the
Government's blueprint for tackling climate change, sets out a framework
for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy, demonstrating the UK's
leadership as progress continues towards establishing a post-2012 global
Key points of the draft
A series of clear
targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions - including making the
UK's targets for a 60 per cent reduction by 2050 and a 26 to 32 per
cent reduction by 2020 legally binding.
A new system of legally
binding five year “carbon budgets”, set at least 15 years ahead, to
provide clarity on the UK's pathway towards its key targets and
increase the certainty that businesses and individuals need to invest
in low-carbon technologies.
A new statutory body,
the Committee on Climate Change , to provide independent expert advice
and guidance to Government on achieving its targets and staying within
its carbon budgets.
New powers to enable
the Government to more easily implement policies to cut emissions.
A new system of annual
open and transparent reporting to Parliament. The Committee on Climate
Change will provide an independent progress report to which the
Government must respond. This will ensure the Government is held to
account every year on its progress towards each five year carbon
budget and the 2020 and 2050 targets.
A requirement for
Government to report at least every five years on current and
predicted impacts of climate change and on its proposals and policy
for adapting to climate change.
The draft bill will be
subject to a full public consultation alongside pre-legislative scrutiny
in Parliament. The strategy paper, published with the draft bill sets,
out how the Climate Change Bill fits into the Government's wider
international strategy and a range of future domestic policies to
achieve its aims. It argues that all sectors of society will have to
contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, but that this does
not mean a reduction in standards of living. It sets out a vision for
how the UK can move to a low carbon economy including:
low-carbon fuels and technologies, such as carbon capture and storage,
wind, wave and solar power.
efficient use of energy.
A step change in the
way energy suppliers operate so that they focus on reducing demand
rather than just supplying as much energy as possible.
producers as well as consumers of energy.
The draft Climate
Change Bill and accompanying paper can be accessed at:
A land fit for the future: Miliband urges radical land use rethink
DEFRA 9 March 2007
David Miliband today called for a "radical rethink" about land use to
take account of climate change impacts and to enhance the quality and
beauty of our environment.
Climate change, greater
understanding of how our lifestyles affect the natural infrastructure of
water, air, soil and biodiversity that underpins human life and
well-being, the need for new homes and the emergence of new technology
mean that we need to reassess how we make decisions on land use to leave
a better legacy for future generations, Mr Miliband said today.
Looking at how land
designations can be climate change proofed, Mr Miliband said there was
"potential to put the green back into the green belt" as well as the
development of 'turquoise belts' alongside rivers and waterways to
protect homes against flooding while improving biodiversity and
Mr Miliband told a
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) conference:
“The way we use and manage land
fundamentally affects our economy, our environment, and our social
Over the next 80 years, we will face new and
competing pressures that will force changes in how land is used and
managed, from demographic change to climate change. Preservation of the
status quo is not an option.
If we are to avoid a zero-sum game, with
economic or environmental goals being at the expense of the other, we
need a new vision for how to use land in this country.
We will need more development. But if we
focus it in urban areas and continue our urban renaissance, and if it is
zero or low carbon, we can preserve the countryside and the planet. We
need to make our green belt land more attractive – a basis for wildlife
and recreation. We need farming to become a net environmental
contributor, with subsidy tied to delivering environmental public goods.
And we need less productive farmland to be ‘re-wilded’ – for
woodlands, heathland and fenland.
Delivering this vision of a new, but
beautiful Britain will require changes in our systems of planning,
agriculture and land use. But most of all it will require us to be brave
enough to ask the fundamental questions of what land is for, and how we
can value it.
We should aim to develop a more proactive
and positive to approach to land. The environmental focus on planning is
often the control of development. Environmental value is protected and
preserved rather than proactively enhanced. We need to think of quality
green space as a sort of infrastructure – an investment in a physical
asset that produces environmental, social and economic value equivalent
to building roads and schools. So as more land is developed for housing,
business or transport, we need to think about how funding mechanisms
such as Section 106 and in future, Planning Gain Supplement can be used
to invest not only in brown infrastructure – roads, railways, and power
stations - but ‘green infrastructure’ in and around our cities and towns
where most people live.
I have set out my views on some of the ways
we might reshape the way we think about land. But this is not an agenda
that should be left to political parties or politicians. It goes to the
core of the way we live, the country we want to build and the legacy we
want to leave for future generations. It can capture the imagination and
passion of people for whom politics is often a remote concern.
Government can help to spark a debate, but if we are to get a more
mature, engaged debate, we must mobilise a broad coalition of interests,
from citizens and community groups to farmers, developers, and local
full speech can be found
SNH maps out escape routes for species moving with the climate change
SNH Press Release 6 March
Scottish Natural Heritage
(SNH) has launched a programme to help Scotland's native wildlife
survive major impacts of climate change. The Long March - Spatial
Adaptation to Climate Change is a new initiative by the agency's land
science specialists to identify escape routes for species to relocate to
suitable new habitats.
The aim of the programme
is to create natural movement corridors including artificial landscape
features where necessary, allowing species to relocate if their
traditional habitats become uninhabitable due to rising temperatures and
raised sea levels.
The Long March project
will monitor habitats with a view to enabling the predicted geographical
movement North as species react to habitat and climate changes. SNH 's
strategy is to gather together all available data on species movements,
lifecycle behaviour and ability to cover distance to ensure there will
be escape routes from Scotland's changing habitats. A key focus of the
programme will be to identify obvious barriers to these natural
movements so that suitable habitat linkage and connections can be
artificially created where possible.
Land Use Group Manager
Duncan Stone is coordinating the strategy to identify potential barriers
and geographical 'pinch points' where species might be prevented from
following an instinctive migration path. He says:
"Looking ahead we intend to develop a list of vulnerable yet mobile
species which given half a chance can naturally adapt and move their
habitat. But before we attempt to plan ways to help them move any
distance we need to think about the way species perceive their own
habitats. In short, try to see the world through their eyes. For
instance research suggests some butterflies will not cross any large
expanse of open ground, hills, or even tall trees. Some woodland birds
such as the tree creeper will only foray 10 metres distance out from
woodland cover even though they are capable of flying many kilometres.
Similarly roads, especially major ones can be very difficult barriers
for amphibians to cross. In similar circumstances the Dutch have built
large grass-covered landscape bridges 200 metres wide to span motorways
and create really strong habitat connections. "
"The aim of the Long
March will be to ensure these species have a countryside permeable and
continuous enough to allow them to spread north through their own
natural behaviour. To do that we'll compare their movement needs with
the nature of the landscape at specific pinch-points where open country
is limited. Examples include the area between Airdrie and Falkirk, or
the thin strip of low ground between the sea at Stonehaven and the
upland forests at the eastern margins of the Grampian mountains. We'll
assess whether the pinch-point actually allows species to pass through
on their 'long march', and identify the significant elements which could
be protected or changed to maintain and improve connectivity. "
Work begins on
Hull woodland project
5 March 2007
The £55,000 HEYwoods
project to turn a disused airfield into a woodland has started. Over the
next month 7,000 oak, ash and maple trees will be planted at the 3.25
hectare Hedon Airfield, near Hull.
The site is owned by Hull City Council while the East Riding of Yorkshire
Council will oversee the planting work. Those helping to fund trees and
fencing include Yorkshire Water, BP Chemicals, Saltend Cogeneraton Company
and Nippon Gohsei UK.
Stephen Robinson, of the HEYwoods initiative, said: "Most people are aware
that Hull and the East Riding make up one of the least wooded areas of the
country. The Hedon Airfield woodland project is an excellent example of
providing a scheme that offers the range of environmental, economic and
social benefits that an increased level of woodland can bring to our
All the planting is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Power giant planning huge pylons in highlands accused of arrogance
Press & Journal 5 March 2007
The power giant planning to double the size of hundreds of pylons
running through the Highlands has been accused by objectors groups and
landowners of arrogance and of pre-judging the public inquiry into the
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has published a long list of
potential compulsory purchase orders along the 137-mile route to
accommodate the project. Included are “wayleaves" - which promise
landowners a fee for developer access.
Andrew Fielden, who represents the family owners of the Ardverikie
Estate, said: "We are not going to grant any wayleaves until the outcome
of the inquiry. They're asking for wayleaves for something they haven't
actually got planning consent for. If they compulsorily purchase in the
meantime I think it rather negates the whole point of the inquiry."
Eddie Hughes, chairman of Highlands Before Pylons, said: "This is
indicative of SSE's total ignorance towards the objectors' feelings.
They're not giving the inquiry an opportunity to consider all the
alternatives. It just emphasises the lack of democracy and power that
the Electricity Act gives to transmission operators. Things like
wayleaves should be properly negotiated. But SSE have been as
heavy-handed as ever, making a mockery of consultation."
SSE spokesman Julian Reeves summed up the criticism that the company was
premature or presumptuous by advertising compulsory purchase orders
during the inquiry as "mischief-making" and "absolute nonsense".
He said: "This is being driven by the Scottish Executive who've taken
the very sensible approach that, while we're carrying out the local
hearings as part of the public inquiry, for example the one in
Inverness, the same (executive) reporters should also listen to any
hearings in respect of compulsory purchases or wayleaves associated with
the line at the time. It doesn't presume anything because at the end of
the day if the result of the inquiry is that we should not build we just
walk away from everything".
Responding to complaints that notice of the orders was limited, he
insisted company had adhered to stipulated levels of advertising and
that the company was also speaking directly with all the landowners
The Cairngorms National Park Authority is, meanwhile, writing to the
public inquiry reporters' unit to press for a transcript of daily
proceedings to be published to make the hearing more accessible to
people living along the route who cannot attend the Perth proceedings.