Draft Bill on natural environment

The Government has published a draft Bill to deliver a significant shake-up in responsibilities for the protection of the natural environment.

The Bill, which follows last year's rural strategy, provides for the creation of a new integrated agency bringing together the functions of English Nature, parts of the the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service.

The agency will have a broad remit to improve the natural environment, biodiversity and landscape and to promote access and recreation. The Government says that it will be able to work on "a joined-up, area-wide basis" rather than focusing on individual designated sites.

The House of Commons Environment Committee is conducting pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill.

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