For reference, here's what the Budget 2012 report, just published, says about Habitats and Wild Bird Directives
"The Government has also completed a review of the implementation in England of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives, to be published on 22 March 2012. Following this review, the Government will reduce unnecessary cost and delay to developers by: setting up a Major Infrastructure and Environment Unit; streamlining guidance; setting clearer standards for evidence; and changing the culture of statutory bodies."
"2.241 Habitats Directive – The Government will reduce the cost, complexity and delay to businesses that the Habitats Directive can impose by preparing streamlined guidance, setting clearer standards for evidence and improving the customer focus of the statutory bodies. The Government will also establish a Major Infrastructure and Environment Unit to engage at an early stage with nationally significant infrastructure projects on potential Habitats Directive issues, ensuring evidence plans are agreed upfront and identifying where imperative reasons of over-riding public interest may apply."
Pleased to say our brand new South West Wildlife Guide has been published, and can be downloaded here. Its full of all sorts of events for everyone to take part in, and some great suggestions of places to visit. Lots and lots to do over the summer!
Last Friday Wildlife Trusts in the West Country and the RSPB spoke together about the importance of putting the environment and wildlife at the heart of the economy in the run up to the budget and in what might be one of the most important weeks for the region’s natural landscapes in many years. We spoke together about the role of vital tried and tested wildlife regulations. However these regulations are now under the spotlight in the Governments review of “Red Tape” and the oft repeated accusation that they are “burdensome for businesses, especially development and construction companies” Today, the Government has revealed details of its response to the Red Tape Challenge on environmental regulation. Should we be delighted? Should we be concerned? Here’s what Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director said this afternoon:“I am extremely glad to see that the Government has listened to the wishes of the public who responded overwhelmingly to this process saying environmental protection rules must be maintained.“More than 15,000 people responded to the RSPB’s call to step up for nature by emailing business secretary Vince Cable highlighting the importance of good environmental regulations.“We understand the need to come up with smarter regulation and when a set of laws have been written and amended over many years then there is often a need to simplify and streamline them. However we will be watching this process closely to ensure they consult properly and come up with legislation that does the same important job.“Environmental regulation is vital for ensuring our wildlife and natural habitats are allowed to flourish, our air and water is kept clean and our climate is protected. Regulation is usually the most cost effective means of the Government achieving their environmental objectives.“We are now entering an era of voluntary initiatives driven primarily by the Government's belief that they are less costly to administer than more stringent, regulated alternatives. We have very little experience of voluntary initiatives in this country and that which we do have generally demonstrates that they are simply not effective.“We will work with the Government to smarten regulation but we will not allow tried and tested approaches to be replaced by measures which appeal to business but do not deliver the level of protection enshrined in our environmental laws.“This is not the only announcement we are expecting about environmental regulations. Let’s hope that logic and evidence informs the habitats regulations review which is to be published later this week.”Next up? The National Planning Policy Framework and the budget on Wednesday and an announcement on the Habitats Regulations review at some point this week. Watch this space...