Natural England

Natural England is the English government agency responsible for the protection and improvement of the natural environment.Natural England

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 established Natural England with this purpose:

‘to ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced, and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development’.

Natural England was formed from parts of former agencies as follows:

• all of English NaturePages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet;
• the environment activities part of the Rural Development Service (a part of DEFRA);
• the Countryside Agency’s Landscape, Access and Recreation divisionPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet.

It has all the powers of the former bodies including awarding grants, giving advice and information, designating Sites of Special Scientific InterestPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, National ParksPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet and Areas of Outstanding Natural BeautyPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, managing National Nature ReservesPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, and enforcing the associated regulations. Natural England does not include the Environment AgencyPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet, or the Forestry Commission.

See the Natural England Strategic Direction 2006 - 2009 document (pdf) explaining the functions of the new agency.
The Natural England website now has some reasonably userful stuff on it, includes plenty from the former agencies. Expect it to change about as the new body gets organised.

Problems with Natural England

The new agency got off to an inauspicious start when £12M was cut from its budget before it was even launched. This caused some controversy. There is also some concern that a part of the reason for this reorganisation was to give more political control to the previously (fairly) independant agencies. For example, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has the legal power to issue guidance to Natural England on various matters, a constraint that was not placed on its predecessor bodies.

Contact

Natural England
1 East Parade
Sheffield
S1 2ET
Tel: 0114 241 8920
Fax: 0114 241 8921

See The Ranger's BlogPages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet for various Natural England stories, including more about the budget cuts.