An environmental scorecard - Environmental Audit Committee Contents

Appendix 1: Nature Check 2013

Wildlife and Countryside Link's Nature Check 2013 analysed the Government's natural environment commitments. They rated 25 commitments as either green, amber or red (representing good progress, moderate progress or failing, respectively). Four commitments were rated as green, 12 as amber and nine as red. Compared with an assessment the previous year, 10% had improved but 20% had worsened.

Red ratings

·  We will implement the Biodiversity Strategy and build natural capital through Local Nature Partnerships.

·  We will maintain the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other environmental protections, and create a new designation-similar to SSSIs-to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities.

·  Implement recommendations from the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Implementation Review.

·  We will promote high standards of farm animal welfare.

·  Implement recommendations from the Macdonald Task Force's review of farming regulations to reduce burdens and increase responsibility.

·  Deliver a new framework for achieving the dual objectives of increasing food production and enhancing the environment.

·  We will take forward the findings of the Pitt Review to improve our flood defences, and prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk.

·  We will implement a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control as part of a balanced package of measures to control bovine TB and support the cattle industry.

·  We will designate Marine Conservation Zones in 2013 and reduce the regulatory burden of marine licensing while maintaining a high level of protection in the marine environment.

Amber ratings

·  We will reform the water industry to enhance competition and improve conservation.

·  Influence reform in Europe to support [a] strong, sustainable agricultural…[industry].

·  We will implement EU regulations to prevent the trade in illegal logging.

·  We will tackle the smuggling and illegal trade of wildlife through our new Border Police Force.

·  We are committed to introducing the right of coastal access under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

·  Protect and enhance our urban and natural environment to improve public health and wellbeing.

·  Improve water quality.

·  We will take action to tackle the illegal trafficking of protected or endangered wildlife species.

·  We will plant a million trees by 2015 and put English forestry on a more sustainable footing, building on the report by the Independent Panel on Forestry.

·  We will create a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the planning system.

·  Continue our radical reform of the planning system to give neighbourhoods much greater ability to shape the places in which they live.

·  [We] will seek to introduce primary legislation at the earliest opportunity to…ban travelling circuses from using performing wild animals.

Green ratings

·  We will press for a ban on ivory sales.

·  We will oppose the resumption of commercial whaling.

·  We will negotiate reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy to support sustainable fish stocks, a prosperous fishing industry and a health marine environment.

·  We will implement the Ash Dieback Control Strategy and consider the findings from the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce.

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Prepared 16 September 2014