Embedding sustainable development across Government, after the Secretary of State's announcement on the future of the Sustainable Development Commission - Environmental Audit Committee Contents

Further written evidence submitted by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland Executive

Thank you for your letter of 23 November regarding the above. Clearly there is some ambiguity between the evidence sessions noted in your letter about the nature of consultation on the Defra decision to withdraw funding from SDC.

We were not consulted by Defra with regard to its decision to withdraw its funding from SDC. We have no record or recollection of any contact from Defra in this regard. The Secretary of State for Environment informed us by letter on 14 July 2010 that she intended, on 22 July 2010, to announce her decision to discontinue Defra funding and seeking our co-operation in winding up the SDC Company. As mentioned in the evidence we have already supplied to the Committee that we were disappointed by this decision. We did not, and have not, provided any written or oral indication of our support for the decision.

We do recognise that the withdrawal of Defra funding from SDC means that it is impossible for it to continue as a viable organisation. Therefore, we are co-operating in the winding-down procedure, through representation on the SDC Transition Project Board, with the intention of facilitating what we acknowledge to be a very difficult and traumatic process for all SDC staff involved.

We hope this provides the clarification you need. We are copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Defra, First Minister of Scotland and First Minister of Wales.

15 December 2010

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