Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by James Del Mar

Thank you for inviting submissions. I comment:

What actions are required across Government Departments, from local government and by civil society to deliver the White Paper’s proposals to grow a green economy and reconnect people with nature?

Agriculture and Rural Affairs need to be a part of the national curriculum from an early age. Farmers’ and landowners’ subsidies should be linked into a requirement that they utilise farms and rural property as an educational resource, for example, it should be a requirement that all children visit a farm at least twice every term for every year of their schooling. Farms that provide this should be eligible for additional subsidy. The science element of the national curriculum should focus and revolve around studies of our native species, farming methods and land types.

Regulators must continue to monitor the relationship of supermarkets and suppliers.

UK institutions (the armed forces, emergency services and educational establishments) should be encouraged to buy British. The benefits of low food miles, quality produce and good livestock husbandry should be better conveyed. Efforts should be made to create patriotism for home grown and manufactured produce.

We should emulate European branding and labelling of food and intensify appropriate use of, for example, the “Red Tractor” logo.

Will the institutional framework outlined for delivering the proposals (in particular Nature Improvement Areas and Local Nature Partnerships) be effective?

To some extent, but arguably these schemes will serve to reduce production and prevent development in some areas.

Does the proposed Natural Capital Committee have sufficient powers?

From the limited amount of information available, the NCC doesnot appear to have any powers. It seems only to have duties in respect of reporting and liaising. It would be helpful if the NCC had the authority to issue some form of funding or credit system—perhaps as tax offset for environmentally friendly behaviour etc.

What further research and/or evidence is required to develop practical programmes sufficiently detailed to deliver the White Paper’s ambition to fully embed the value of nature into policy delivery?

Scientific evidence identifying the benefits of rural living and healthy living and eating on life expectancy, health, education etc.

What evidence is there from other countries that the approaches proposed in the White Paper can be successfully applied in practice?

I regret I have no knowledge of other countries approach(es).

What resources will be needed fully to deliver the White Paper’s ambitions and how can these best be provided?

educational resource—from new and existing teachers; and

financial resource—perhaps via tax credits as opposed to further funding.

How might the value of “services” provided by ecosystems to beneficiaries be translated into spending that will enhance the natural environment?

This assumes that direct spending into the natural environment will enhance it—I question that. Responsible stewardship and sound environmental practices, together with an enhanced public awareness would achieve much. The investment is not so much required into the natural environment but in areas that overlap with it — farming, land ownership, education.

25 July 2011

Prepared 16th July 2012