Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Mark Robins, Chair of the South West Regional Environment Network (SW REN) (RG 13)

  1.  REN is an independent network of environmental bodies, working to promote, protect and enhance the South West's environment. It acts as a shared voice, a forum, a customer for certain regional activities (eg the environment module of the SW Regional Observatory), and accepts certain other regional tasks (eg it is the constituency from which three SEEPs are nominated into SW Regional Assembly).

  2.  There are equivalents to REN, call them "regional environment link" groups, in most (all?) English regions, but they are formatted and operate differently according to circumstance.

  3.  REN wishes to raise a simple but central point about the environment in a regional governance context. There are clearly many parties, statutory agencies, and third sector groups (with some large NGOs), operating at the regional level whose interests are environmental or impact environmental outcomes, but these "regional environment link" groups provide the single forum and voice (and champion?) across the environment sector at the regional level.

  4.  At least in the south west, there is more to be done to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of REN as the link group, building its communications function, bringing together information, intelligence, common understandings and so on to have more impact. The formal and informal relationships between REN and other regional bodies need strengthening to suggest stronger impact on environmental outcomes driven from the regional level.

  5.  REN suggests the ODPM Committee should consider the form and function of these regional environment link groups and how they better become fit for purpose in regional governance structures.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 15 March 2006