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<p>It’s a very special pleasure to be here.</p> <p>As I chained my bike up outside Agriculture House all those years ago, readying myself for a job interview, never would have believed that one day I’d be addressing you – in my constituency! – as Secretary of State.</p> <p>I got told off for chaining my bike to those railings, but I did land the job of sugar beet secretary – a job that taught me so much about the energy, dedication and fortitude of our farmers. So it does mean an awful lot to be speaking to you today.</p> <p>It’s been nine months now, since Defra’s new ministerial team took over – a team with strong agricultural credentials, as we hope you’ll have spotted.</p> <p>You have our backing. And you have it in writing. Our business plan shows exactly how much we understand and value the work you do. Not just because we have farming friends, farming relatives, farming offspring, but because of the urgency of the challenge you face – to grow more food at less cost to the environment. And because people’s well-being, now and in the future, hangs on your response to this challenge.</p> <p>The Foresight report, which was sponsored by Defra, laid this out in no uncertain terms. The world’s farmers must feed a growing population, using less water, less fuel and less land – all while adapting to climate change.</p> <p>I was very glad to hear Peter’s welcome of the report, and the opportunities this challenge brings to British farmers, because I want the UK to take the lead.</p> <p>Peter asked about a food plan. Don’t forget we have Food 2030. Would there be any point in tearing it up and writing a new one?</p> <p>But our Natural Environment White Paper – the first in 20 years – will set out how we see UK farmers showing the way. Showing how to merge food production and environmental protection into one task, how to value and protect our natural resources, and how to provide for ourselves without compromising the needs of future generations.</p> <p>You’ve already made good progress on sustainable intensification (if I can use that new buzzword).  In the last 20 years you’ve increased yields using less fertilizer, and with less greenhouse gas emissions. You’ve set a good trajectory. You’ll need Government’s backing to continue along it.</p> <p>You have that backing. It’s a new relationship, and from this side it’s one of deep respect, and great expectations. In my years at the NFU, I saw firsthand how hard you strive to deliver.</p> <p>Food prices are again in the headlines, and it’s energy and water shortages that are driving them up – Foresight’s “perfect storm” has already arrived. Here, many households are feeling the pinch. But in poor countries we’ve seen the cost of bread can spark riots. </p> <p>Peter asked for agriculture to go to the top of the global agenda, so I’m glad to report that agriculture is on G20’s agenda for the first time. The UK must get world leaders to open up markets, allowing you to export more, and freeing up world trade.</p> <p>We must push for transparency and good governance, to tackle the volatility that hits the poorest the hardest. But it’s you, the farmers, who hold the key to global food security, and it’s essential that CAP reform reflects this.</p> <p>I applaud Commissioner Ciolos for picking out the challenges of climate change and food security, but what is proposed lacks ambition and falls far short of an answer to the Foresight challenge.</p> <p>The previous Government’s 2005 “Vision” called for the elimination of Pillar 1 payments in less than a decade. It was an approach which was both naïve and impractical, showing indifference to the problems facing many farm businesses and ignorance of the problems facing other Member States.</p> <p>And it resulted in us being ignored – even by the friends who agree the CAP needs modernising.</p> <p>This government’s position – the UK’s new position – is both more credible and more deliverable. We say “No” to a dogmatic scrapping of subsidies tomorrow. But we say “Yes” to genuine and enduring reform. Reform that is evolutionary, in step with the global picture, reform that helps farmers become more market-orientated, reform that opens up markets to farmers, reform that rewards farmers for the environmental benefits they deliver.</p> <p>This shift in position means we can now become a major player in the negotiations.</p> <p>The NFU and its equivalent in Germany are in broad agreement on a number of reform measures. So too are the UK and German governments. Add Germany to our traditional allies in Scandinavia and the Netherlands, and to the more progressive of the new Member States, and we have a powerful alliance for change. As our coalition agreement stated, we are now a “positive participant in Europe”.</p> <p>I’ll be working hard for a deal that is fair to farmers, the food industry, taxpayers and the environment. But let’s be realistic. You are well aware of the pressure on finances, and with finance ministers trying to balance the books there is bound to be a downward pressure on the CAP budget.</p> <p>Change such as this must be met with energy and resourcefulness – resourcefulness such as yours. And with Government behind you, you will not fail.</p> <p>I want this new relationship to be one of true collaboration – a partnership of equals. We’re not going to tell you how to run your businesses, but we are going to create the conditions in which your businesses can succeed. We’re not going to ignore your dedication, or dismiss your expertise, but we are going to help you use that dedication and expertise to full advantage.</p> <p>We’ve made a good start. We know you often feel strangled by red tape, so in June we set up the Farm Regulation Task Force. And, rather than an academic, we chose your own Richard McDonald to lead this work. But as we move from a culture of control to one of trust it’s for you to ensure it’s also a culture of high standards.</p> <p>We know your work to protect nature is vital. We know there’s not much point in rebuilding our economy unless it’s with green bricks – and we know that farmers are the bricklayers. We can’t build a green economy without you.</p> <p>So, despite huge financial pressure, we have protected the Rural Development Programme for England, and our Natural Environment White Paper casts you in your central role.</p> <p>But, without set-aside, we need you to get behind the Campaign for the Farmed Environment. You asked for a voluntary not a regulatory approach. So – over to you.</p> <p>We know that you need science and expertise to help you reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, so we’re putting up £12.6m for research to get you the very best advice. This new industry partnership is taking shape, through the Greenhouse Gas Action Plan.</p> <p>We know you need UK standards of production recognised and rewarded. The Government is committed to buying food that meets your high standards. We are a major customer and our impact will be felt. And on food labelling, we’ve brought retailers, manufacturers and caterers together to ensure that if it’s labelled ‘British’, it means it. Because we want to help you raise standards even higher. Shoppers want to know where food comes from – and the customer is always right!   </p> <p>We know and value your animal health expertise – the expertise that showed through in the handling of Bluetongue. We share the goal of reducing the risk and costs of animal disease. So we should share the responsibility. The Advisory Group on Responsibility and Cost Sharing published its valuable report in December, and we’ll be making an announcement very soon.</p> <p>We know the UK needs a dynamic and professional farming industry, so we’ve increased our funding for apprenticeships – even in these hard times. Please make the most of this money because, for farming to become more competitive, it must be a career, not just a job. It must raise its profile, attract young people, and invest in their future.</p> <p>It’s great to see the NFU’s commitment to this, through the Agri-Skills Forum. We know you have a good story to tell, a story that goes beyond the gloss of PR. I’m thinking about the dairy farmer in Northumberland who transported midwives through the snow to do their job at Hexham hospital. I’m thinking about the farmers in Cumbria who laid broadband cables, saving their community £100 for every metre laid. I’m thinking about the farmers in Suffolk who’ve been working together to raise money to maintain coastal flood defences. And I’m thinking about initiatives such as Highfield Happy Hens: turning around the lives of troubled teenagers.</p> <p>You guessed it. I’m talking about the Big Society.</p> <p>It’s a story that needs to be told, and we want to hear you tell it, loud and clear.</p> <p>But there are also, in farming, some really tough tales. It’s our job to try and make things fairer. Peter highlighted the plight of the dairy industry. The dairy sector has shown determination in their creation of a sustainable supply chain – building on the success of the Milk Road Map – although the fact is that parts of the industry are struggling.</p> <p>But there are some very real opportunities, both at home and in emerging global markets, and we want to help dairy farmers to seize them. We want to see more British businesses demanding British dairy products – demand usually raises prices – and we’re helping through country of origin labeling, and government buying standards, as I’ve already mentioned.</p> <p>And we’ve given the Dairy Supply Chain Forum new life. What used to be a talking shop is now an engine room for change.</p> <p>The Commission’s dairy proposal will allow producers to band together to negotiate contracts. This is a great opportunity to increase your bargaining power.</p> <p>That job I got at the NFU – involved a lot of negotiating with British Sugar. I understand your bargaining power. I know there have been bad experiences in the past, but I’m convinced there’s scope for this sector to get a better deal – there are positive examples all over Europe of producers banding together to achieve success.</p> <p>On the other side of the equation is the power of the supermarkets.</p> <p>To ensure fairness here, the Government is creating the Groceries Code Adjudicator. We’re anxiously awaiting the Bill that’s being drawn up by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. </p> <p>We also know that you are anxious for the decision on Bovine TB. It’s a devastating disease, which must be eradicated. We are determined to get this right, so we need to follow the process very carefully. Thank you for your patience.</p> <p>I can never do justice to size and complexity of the challenges this industry faces in a twenty minute speech.</p> <p>I’m certainly not saying it’s going to be easy. But I can offer you a new relationship – a new partnership – with Government. In us you have a partner that wants you to succeed – and believes you can. A partner that will fight your corner in the CAP negotiations.  A partner that knows your livelihoods are in its hands. A partner who will do everything in its power to help you thrive, and make the future bright for farming.</p> 2011-03-04 21:30:51 Caroline Spelman Spelman’s speech to the NFU AGM: ‘A New Partnership’ 2011-02-15 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p><strong>Not checked against delivery</strong></p> <p>First let me say how pleased I am to be here today to meet such an important industry for many of Defra’s policy areas. From flood management  to farming and forestry to biodiversity – which we’re all here to talk about today – to one of my specific ministerial responsibilities: the cross-cutting issue of climate change adaptation.</p> <p>Here amongst such a learned audience, I probably don’t need to say, but the UK’s climate is changing and is likely to do so for the foreseeable future.</p> <p>Irrespective of a global deal on carbon emissions going forward – and my Government puts itself at the forefront of efforts to reach such a deal – we are already locked into some climate change from emissions already in the atmosphere.  For the UK, this will bring hotter, drier summers, warmer, wetter winters and more frequent, extreme weather events. </p> <p>But for other parts of the world, the impacts of climate change are likely to be felt much more severely. Indeed, it will be an issue wherever you do business. The smart economy will take steps now to plan, prepare and become more climate resilient. We must <span style="text-decoration: underline">adapt </span>to our changing climate. </p> <p>Taking action to adapt now is vital to the wellbeing of our society and economy.  For example, the widespread summer flooding in 2007 affected 55,000 homes in England, killed 13 people and cost the economy £3.2 billion.</p> <p>Climate change will expose individuals, businesses and the natural environment to new risks, and affect their exposure to existing ones. Insurance is important in this context for three main reasons:</p> <p>First, the insurance industry is uniquely positioned to play a key role in efforts to increase the UK economy’s resilience by using the latest science to help protect people and businesses from climate risks.  </p> <p>Second, large investment portfolios that factor in climate resilience are likely to be more attractive and bring greater returns. </p> <p>And thirdly, insurance enables agents to spread the losses resulting from climate hazards across time, over large geographical areas, and among different social and commercial communities.</p> <p>But the story is not just one about minimising and mitigating risk. The flip side of risk is opportunity and growth.  My department has as one of its priorities to “<em>support a strong and sustainable green economy’,</em> in essence one that provides jobs whilst minimising environmental impact.  To do this we are working together with the departments for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Energy and Climate Change to develop a <em>Roadmap to a Green Economy</em>.  This will articulate the business and investment environment the Government will provide to make possible the shift to a growing green economy.</p> <p>And I can give you an example of this transition to a green economy.  The UK financial services sector is taking a lead – a first mover advantage – in developing and selling new, climate-related products and investments, in much the same way we have established London as the global centre for carbon trading.</p> <p>We have seen this with the nascent market in weather derivatives, worth some £45 billion last year.</p> <p>As expert risk managers, the insurance industry has a key role in preparing the country for climate change – and can teach us a lot about assessing risk and dealing with uncertainty in policy making.</p> <p>Uncertainty is a fact of life – as an industry you know that better than anyone – but we mustn’t let this paralyse our response to climate change. And the insurance industry leads the way in this approach in helping society to cope and business to thrive.</p> <p>That’s not to say we don’t need to minimise the uncertainty on climate change – providing you with the evidence you need to manage risk and base business decisions on. Despite the financial circumstances, we are continuing to invest heavily in improving the evidence base, for example through the world-leading Met Office Hadley Centre. Indeed, I visited the facility last month and was impressed by their dedication, enthusiasm and remarkable science.</p> <p>We are starting to receive climate risk assessments from those organisations we deem to be in the front line of the effort to prepare the country for climate change – for example water, transport and energy infrastructure companies and environmental regulators.</p> <p>These climate risk assessments improve the evidence base and help us target our efforts to build climate resilience, as well as helping to raise the profile of adaptation action.</p> <p>We are conducting the National Ecosystem Assessment – which Bob Watson will talk about in more detail in a moment.</p> <p>All of these things will inform the first ever UK-wide assessment of present and future climate risks – to be published in January next year. Biodiversity is a key sector being looked at as part of the climate change risk assessment – recognising its crucial role in supporting everything we do through ecosystem services.</p> <p>We shouldn’t underestimate the value of services from the natural environment, for example from natural water purification, the carbon recycling going on in our oceans, or from bees and other pollinating insects across the world. In the UK these pollination services are estimated to be worth up to £440m per year.</p> <p>Once the Climate Change Risk Assessment has identified the key climate risks to the UK, we will conduct an economic analysis and set in place a programme of action to address them.</p> <p>But this won’t just be a programme by Government for Government.  Key industries like yours are ahead of the curve in terms of adaptation and we want to work in partnership with you – both to develop the Programme next year, and to implement it thereafter.</p> <p>We are working with groups like the Association of British Insurers to assess the best way of engaging the industry to do this. Central government will continue to play its part by providing the evidence, and facilitating and driving action. But it is for all parts of society – businesses, local authorities and communities – to take action to prepare for climate change.</p> <p>And we are reviewing the provision of Government-funded specialist adaptation advice and support – responding to the statutory Adaptation Sub Committee’s call to ensure that capacity building in adapting to climate change starts to translate routinely into action on the ground.</p> <p>Later this year, we will publish white papers on the Natural Environment and Water, as well as a new England Biodiversity Strategy – key planks in our drive to prepare the country for climate change.</p> <p>The Natural Environment White Paper will set out how the natural environment is key to our efforts to adapt to climate change – cooling our air, purifying our water and helping to alleviate flood risk. But that it is also under threat from climate change and must be given every chance to adapt through our policies, initiatives and actions.</p> <p>That’s why insurance products that adhere to the proposed Principles for Sustainable Insurance will be so important and I whole heartedly support what you’re all here to do today.</p> <p>And that’s why it’s crucial that big institutional investors consider the protection and the sustainable use of biodiversity and the wider natural environment in their investment decisions.</p> <p>And that’s why Caroline Spelman fought so hard to make Nagoya such a great success, fully achieving its three main objectives – setting in place:</p> <ul> <li>a  New Strategic Plan for global biodiversity conservation to 2020 and beyond</li> <li>a resource mobilization strategy to increase financing for biodiversity outcomes in developing countries; and</li> <li>a  new “Nagoya Protocol” on Access and Benefit Sharing, which establishes a regime where developing countries will allow access to their genetic and natural resources in return for a share of the benefits for their use.</li> </ul> <p>Biodiversity loss, climate change and development are key, intertwined, challenges and I am heartened to see the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative and the insurance industry working together to find solutions.</p> 2011-03-04 21:31:12 Lord Henley Adapting to climate change – Lord Henley speech to UNEP meeting for insurers 2011-02-15 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>I’ve been really looking forward to the Oxford Farming Conference. It’s my first as Secretary of State and allows me to set out my stall as we approach a new year in the agricultural calendar and the start of serious negotiations.</p> <p>I’m a lucky lady because years ago as a commodity secretary of the NFU I would look to this event to set the framework for the industry to operate in. And now I’m here helping to set it.</p> <p>As the Coalition we now have a credible negotiating mandate and the right to be a positive participant in Europe – a participant that will be looking to get the best deal for farmers, taxpayers, consumers and the environment alike.</p> <p>It helps to speak other’s languages of course. But more than the words it’s the fact the UK is a real player at the negotiating table that we are more likely to achieve our aims.</p> <p>Aims which include the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy.</p> <p>We need to address the tendency to protectionism in other Member States which undercuts producers in developing countries, because this is morally wrong. Favouring protectionism over liberalisation will actually hold back European farmers in the long run.</p> <p>To continue as we are threatens to prevent the transition we need towards a market that can sustain EU agriculture in the future. And there has to be change, because the new member states will demand a fairer allocation – with which I have considerable sympathy. There won’t be a deal, frankly, without this.</p> <p>We now need to make the new CAP fundamentally different. Its strategic approach must change; as well as its detail.  It must be re-positioned so that we can tackle the new challenges of achieving global food security and tackling and adapting to a changing climate.</p> <p>The Commission recently published its plans for CAP reform.  Although they set out the challenges for the sector they did little to create a dynamic strategy that would usefully contribute to President Barroso’s 2020 vision. So, while I welcome their proposals for further moves towards market orientation and international competitiveness I believe we can be more ambitious.</p> <p>We can be more positive. More confident. Now is the time to make very significant progress towards reducing our reliance on direct payments – it’s certainly something the farmers I know want to see happen. Rising global demand for food and rising food prices make it possible to reduce subsidies and plan for their abolition. </p> <p>Furthermore we should encourage innovation in the industry. Provide help with environmental measures and combating climate change. Our taxpayers have every right to expect other public goods for the subsidies they pay. I’m wary of the proposal to ‘green’ Pillar 1. What is proposed is nothing like as ambitious as British farmers have shown themselves to be. That’s why we want to see Pillar 2 taking a greater share of limited resources. </p> <p>We are prepared to work hard to achieve this vision. As a coalition we have a positive relationship with the EU, with fellow Members States and with all EU institutions.  We are forming alliances with those who share our vision of a competitive industry, who share our desire to see it deliver on public goods and who want to see a level playing field in the CAP.  This is the only way we can achieve our goals.</p> <p>We can do it. We’ve already seen it work. It may not be what you expected me as a Secretary of State to say, but it’s true. Recent negotiations on whaling, on forestry and at the December Fisheries Council all succeeded because we built partnerships.</p> <p>The relationships we build will pay off. At the end of last year – in Nagoya – we saw an international agreement on a new global framework for protecting biodiversity.</p> <p>In the year of its Presidency of the G20, France has boldly and wisely proposed a meeting of Agriculture Ministers to improve the functioning of world markets.</p> <p>A timely decision as the global demand for food rises.  As international food markets open up and the risk increases of a wrong-headed, protectionism. In some cases this has already happened – we just have to cast our minds back to late summer and the ban on Russian and Ukrainian grain exports.</p> <p>I would therefore like to work with France to seek an end to export bans – one of the most restrictive practices found in the world market.</p> <p>This challenge is the clear focus of the Foresight Report which will be published at the end of this month. </p> <p>Of course our vision for the future and the goals we set ourselves must be tempered by the current fiscal climate.</p> <p>There’s a need for a reality check. It’s astonishing that the Commission’s initial views on the CAP barely acknowledge the hard times currently facing Europe.</p> <p>It’s hard for us here too.  </p> <p>We’ve been in office for just over 6 months.  It’s been a challenging time. But, as the PM said, Britain can become one of the international success stories of the new decade. But first we must deal with the economic problems we inherited. Our overriding goal has been to set in motion measures to tackle those problems. This began with an emergency budget swiftly followed by the comprehensive spending review.</p> <p>But this hasn’t stopped us spending in excess of £2 billion of taxpayers money in pursuit of our objectives.  Of greening the economy.  Of enhancing the environment and biodiversity.</p> <p>Of supporting the British food and farming industry and helping it develop.</p> <p>That is a theme that runs right through our business plan. Particularly the role the food sector plays in our economy. And the contribution made by farmers in managing the land.</p> <p>Over the coming years we need to increase the competitiveness of the whole UK food chain, to help secure an environmentally sustainable and healthy supply of food.</p> <p>Underlying all of this is the power shift from the centre towards local organisations – putting local people back in charge – a classic example of what we mean by Big Society.</p> <p>This shift will change the way the department works. We want to see a greater degree of trust and collaboration when developing and delivering policy. This will allow you as an industry to shape your own destiny.</p> <p>I think this last point is of paramount importance.  I see my job as helping you to become more profitable, innovative and competitive.  By creating the right conditions for the industry to raise productivity, to be entrepreneurial, to continue to develop strong connections with your markets and customers and establish robust links throughout the food chain. I’m really keen to do my bit but it will require you as an industry to step up and seize these opportunities. Sustainable intensification is an example, where fewer agricultural inputs results in less cost to you and the environment. A win-win situation all round.</p> <p>The whole industry must strive to be as good as its best operators and in turn the best need to keep raising the bar.</p> <p>This is crucial – as a nation we’ve never been so interested in where food comes from, how it’s produced and animal welfare.  As a result corporate values can easily be damaged by food scare stories.  Public opinion and the media can bring great pressure to bear. Those in the industry who are good at their business understand this and are more responsive to the market’s changing demands as a result.</p> <p>We want farming to enjoy a better image. We want more young people to enter the industry. We need to convince them that it offers good prospects.  That’s why the work of the Agri-Skills Forum is so important, putting in place the infrastructure for lifelong learning through continuous professional development. </p> <p>We want everyone to see the potential in UK farming. It’s an industry that – with the food sector – enjoys an £85 billion income. It has succeeded in growing even through recession. People are always going to need food. It has the potential to become a dynamic and progressive industry with an image to match. Where professionalism and high skills are ably demonstrated. Where farmers are enterprising business people looking to make the most of their experience, always looking for new business opportunities. </p> <p>I was impressed by Lincolnshire farmers innovation during the recent freeze and their efforts to slow the thawing of cauliflowers to avoid the waste of last year.</p> <p>For the industry to innovate like this we need to allow it to operate in an environment where there is a greater degree of trust.</p> <p>This approach marks a departure from the old way of doing business. The paternal approach of Government telling industry what to do and industry complying.</p> <p>We want a system which recognises most people try to do the right thing.</p> <p>So what we now need is a greater degree of collaboration. We’ve already seen this at work through the new voluntary food labelling code. The Task Force for Farming Regulation is another example.</p> <p>A clear priority for this Government, and one that must underpin the Commission’s approach will be to reduce the unnecessary red tape for farmers. We want to be in the vanguard in Europe in pursuing this further. Our aim is to develop an industry fit for an exciting future. A future which is innovative, competitive and profitable. We will not achieve that by burdening farmers with more regulations.</p> <p>Through the Task Force we want to see how and where, we can reduce the cost of compliance. We hope the group will be able to offer advice on how to reduce the regulatory burden and identify examples of gold-plating and overly complex implementation.</p> <p>We know they’ve asked for your input and that they are looking at a number of areas of concern. Particularly around arrangements for livestock movement and identification, for cross compliance and nitrate vulnerable zones, as well as inspections – an issue that affects a lot of you. Currently, you might be visited by an official agency inspector, by the local authority and by a private sector assurance auditor, all looking at the same thing for different reasons.  We look forward to the Task Force’s recommendations for a simpler, risk-based way of doing things.</p> <p>We’re looking to the Task Force to make clear strategic recommendations on how we use regulations. They’ll report back in April.</p> <p>Elsewhere we’re looking at how responsibility for dealing with animal disease can be shared with animal keepers which will demand trust on both sides. We know sharing responsibility makes for better decisions, Bluetongue being a case in point.</p> <p>Our overriding goal here is to reduce the universal risk and costs of disease to industry, government and the wider economy, while at the same time increasing the effectiveness of investment in disease prevention and management.</p> <p>The recommendations from the independent Advisory Group were released just before Christmas. We’re busy looking at what was said and will respond in due course.</p> <p>The issue of trust plays out in initiatives set up by the department. Particularly the Campaign for the Farmed Environment. Here we believe it gives the industry the opportunity to show everyone that the farming community is best placed to deliver the required environmental outcomes from their land.  We know farmers are the stewards of the countryside this is your opportunity to show that. We have put our money where our mouth is by backing both environmental schemes. Increasing the higher level by 80%.</p> <p>The key tool we use to enable farmers to deliver on our strategic priorities for natural resource protection.</p> <p>While walking the fields on John Plumb’s Warwickshire farm I saw for myself how he sows a mixture of seeds on the headlands to attract pollinators and farmland birds. </p> <p>Currently we’re working with Natural England and others to make all strands of Environmental Stewardship more effective and better targeted.  The aim here is to ensure that the scheme is more focused on results.</p> <p>All of this will ensure that agri-environment outcomes delivered to date are protected and maintain our commitment to making Environmental Stewardship available to all farmers.</p> <p>This work dovetails neatly with the ideals and goals behind the publication of our White Paper on the Natural Environment.</p> <p>A document that looks to make the natural environment’s real value count. The first of its kind for twenty years.</p> <p>The white paper gives us an unmissable opportunity to make a real difference and ensure the health of our natural environment and our economy go hand in hand.   </p> <p>The farming community has a role to play here.  You are the custodians of the countryside. You conserve and promote a vibrant natural environment.  We’re now looking to build on this and get the balance right between the public’s demands for affordable and plentiful food while meeting their demands for a healthy natural environment.   </p> <p>This generation should be the one that reverses the loss of species.  A generation which secures a healthy natural world for the future and one which properly values and protects the benefits that nature gives us.</p> <p>I enjoyed a preview of the research on the value and viability of UK Farming prepared for this conference. I hope that what I have said today has demonstrated the collaborative approach it calls for. The importance of farming to the UK economy is recognised by the priority we have given it in Defra’s business plan, providing the kind of leadership you call for.</p> <p>This should help to address the concern in the research community that the UK government understands agriculture less well than our competitors. With all four ministers at Defra having agricultural credentials we defended Government research in the spending review.</p> <p>The priority we give to farming and the food industry will also help to improve the image and profile of the sector.</p> <p>Today I’ve tried to lay out my ambitions, goals and vision for the food and farming community of this country. I believe the whole industry has a lot to contribute to a healthy economy, environment and society. As Secretary of State I fully intend to maintain this dialogue and help create a competitive and sustainable industry that is successful because it gives customers what they want.   </p> <p>An industry that embraces risk and manages risk. An industry that wants to deliver public environmental goods. That takes greater responsibility for animal health and welfare standards. And an industry that underpins the quality of rural life.</p> <p>All of which further develops the levels of trust needed for us to move forward. What I can do is provide the framework for you to succeed. You are the entrepreneurs. You make it happen.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:31:28 Caroline Spelman Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman’s speech at the Oxford Farming Conference 2011 2011-01-05 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you Chris (Smith, EA Chair) and thank you for inviting me here today.</p> <p>As you know, I returned from Nagoya earlier this month. And, whatever the environmental ups and downs we will inevitably experience in the coming decades, the solid achievements of those few weeks in Japan must set the standard in the difficult years ahead. We now have international recognition that the loss of this planet’s biodiversity is serious, that it must be halted and that developing nations must be rewarded for the benefits their biodiversity brings to others.</p> <p>We have a new realism too. Rather than unrealistic targets which cannot be met, we now have a strategic plan which sets out what all countries are expected to do, with a series of sub-targets to ensure that it really happens. And we know that we must start taking urgent steps to adapt to the climate change which is already happening – as well as taking action to mitigate it.</p> <p>The clear message from Nagoya is think global, act local – because it is at the national and local levels that we can actually make the greatest difference to biodiversity within a healthy natural environment. Biodiversity relies on a sustainable environment – on the quality of our water, soil and air as well as on suitable habitats.</p> <p>So our work on environmental protection is essential to achieving the goals we set out in our Business Plan published last month. It is also essential to capturing the public benefits that a healthy natural environment offers – as well as avoiding the carbon and financial costs of cleaning up a poor one. With our commitment to being the greenest government ever, we know the decisions we take now must stand the test of time. Defra’s Departmental Plan puts sustainability right at the centre but we must also mainstream sustainable development across everything we do in government. So I am working with my cabinet colleagues to ensure we drive this approach forward through every single Department.</p> <p>And, two weeks ago, this Government published its Action Plan for doing so – clearly setting out our priorities of leadership, accountability, efficiency and effective governance. Three elements are of particular importance here.</p> <p>Firstly, improving the sustainability of our supply chain – so that Government builds stronger relationships with its suppliers and manages risk and cost effectively.</p> <p>Secondly, reforming government sustainable delivery – by developing new tools and solutions to deliver greater efficiency and leading across the public sector.</p> <p>And thirdly, being honest and open about our environmental performance by publishing departmental and supplier information.</p> <p>Achieving our environmental outcomes will require flexibility locally, and a much closer engagement with stakeholders and communities in both planning and delivery.</p> <p>The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission are already planning how they will work more closely together and with civil society to improve efficiency and customer service. This is just one of the ways I hope our delivery bodies can find the savings they must make while protecting environmental outcomes.</p> <p>Our action plan for the Big Society Agenda includes the engagement of charities, businesses, user groups and volunteers in a much wider range of action, from managing local flood risk to helping achieve our Water Framework Directive aims. There are challenges to be overcome yes, but there are also opportunities to be seized.</p> <p>Defra’s Business Plan clearly lists supporting a strong and sustainable green economy, resilient to the effects of climate change as one of our three priorities.</p> <p>Climate change is already affecting us all and each sector in our economy – including agriculture – must play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. I am encouraged that, in England, the farming industry is working in partnership to meet this challenge, using measures that make good business and environmental sense.</p> <p>Agriculture is also on the frontline when it comes to experiencing the effects of climate change – making it even more important that that farmers and land managers act to adapt to these effects to produce sustainably and deliver the wider environmental benefits we expect.</p> <p>Indeed, every part of society is going to need to adapt to ensure our national resilience in the decades to come. The Adaptation Sub-Committee’s first report, published in September, identified five priority areas for adaptation.</p> <p>In planning – where the new National Planning Policy Framework will list our economic, environmental and social priorities.</p> <p>In our infrastructure – where the new system of National Policy Statements will help ensure that thinking about adaptation is built in from the start for key types of major infrastructure.</p> <p>We have also confirmed that providers of public infrastructure projects must provide a climate risk assessment under the Climate Change Act – the first reports will be published next year.</p> <p>In our buildings – where the review of Building Regulations launched by CLG will lead to better design and ventilation standards for offices and homes.</p> <p>In our use of natural resources – by using water more efficiently and addressing the pressures on our network of ecological sites.</p> <p>And, lastly, in the way we plan for emergencies – where the Government’s major Strategic Defence and Security Review will include those ‘Civil Emergencies’ caused by natural events.</p> <p>The ASC’s report showed us that while the UK has started to build up its adaptation capacity – including the Environment Agency’s management of flood risk – much more needs to be done across all sectors to translate adaptive capacity into tangible action. The UK’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment – currently underway and due to be published by January 2012 will provide us with an even better understanding of both the risks and the costs of climate change to our society, infrastructure and economy, and help us to plan for the future.</p> <p>Insured losses from UK weather-related events now total £1.5 billion a year. Yet, according to Defra’s own figures, while one in three businesses in England have been significantly affected by extreme weather in the last three years, just one in four have done anything to increase their resilience.</p> <p>This July was one of the wettest on record and yet 2010 also gave the UK the driest first six months in nearly 70 years. And only last week in Cornwall, I saw for myself the devastating impact of flooding on families and businesses alike. Standing in what had been only the day before, thriving businesses, now knee deep in muddy water and surrounded by the unmistakeable smell of flood water. And seeing too, Environment Agency staff on the ground, in shops, businesses and homes – providing practical help and advice as well as a shoulder to lean on. And – crucially – telling those families and businesses that this doesn’t have to happen again.</p> <p>That new flood gates can be more effective than sand bags and door boards. That local flood clinics can provide advice on how to build flood resilience. And encouraging local people to take action – as the Cockermouth Flood Action Group did in setting up the system of voluntary flood wardens – to help their communities be prepared and minimise the impact, next time. That’s the kind of help that can makes the difference between a shopkeeper closing the door on his flood-soaked shop, turning their back and walking away for good – or having the knowledge to turn the situation around, confident that steps they take now will successfully minimise the impact of flooding next time around. We have to get this right.</p> <p>That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to announce on behalf of Defra and the Environment Agency, the launch of our consultation on a new flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy (FCERM) for England. A strategy which builds on what we already have but uses a wider range of measures to manage risk in a joined-up way that balances the needs of communities, the economy and the environment. The proposals meet the Pitt Review’s recommendations and they also set out the Environment Agency’s strategic overview responsibilities.</p> <p>There are five key aims of these proposals – all aimed at enabling people, communities, business and the public sector to work together:</p> <p>We need to ensure there is a clear understanding of the risks of flooding and erosion – both nationally and locally – so investment in risk management can be better prioritised.</p> <p>We need to set out clear and consistent plans for risk management so that communities and business can make decisions about how they manage the remaining risk.</p> <p>We need to encourage innovative management of flood and coastal erosion risks –  which takes account of the needs of communities and of the environment.</p> <p>And, as last week’s events reinforce, we need to ensure that our planning for and response to emergency floods work and allow communities to respond properly to flood warnings.</p> <p>And, of course, to recover more quickly after these events have happened. This strategy helps prepare all of us for a future when Cumbria’s and Cornwall’s may well become more frequent and I would encourage the widest contribution to our consultation.</p> <p>In July we announced a £2 million boost in funding to help local authorities deal with flood risk assessments. At the same time we published the National Flood Emergency Framework, offering councils and others a one stop shop of guidance and advice on planning for, and responding to, floods. We fought hard – and successfully – to ensure reductions in flood spending were kept to a minimum against a backdrop of up to 50% capital spending cuts in some Departments.</p> <p>Total flood spend over the next four years is only 8% less than the previous four and we expect to provide additional protection to 145,000 households. And, at the Association of British Insurers Conference, which I am attending immediately after this event, I will be launching a consultation on reforms to the current funding system – to make it fairer, more innovative and offering local communities the chance to have a better say in how they are defended from flood risk. But water is not just about floods. We have made a commitment to publish a Water White Paper by next June. It will focus on the challenges that lie ahead for the water industry, pointing to the way ahead and providing a policy framework to get there.</p> <p>We need to review the current regulatory system – minimising unnecessary burdens, increasing flexibility and supporting greater consumer choice to deliver innovative solutions and sustainable growth for the long term.</p> <p>The Water White Paper will also offer our responses to the Cave and Walker reviews and the conclusion to our review of Ofwat’s remit. It will link up with the Natural Environment White Paper and I have been very encouraged by the rate and quality of the 15,000 responses we have had to our Discussion Document.</p> <p>Responses from businesses, from local authorities and charities and – overwhelmingly – from individuals show that our natural environment is clearly a national priority.</p> <p>When we publish the White Paper next Spring, it will offer a compelling and integrated vision of the value of our natural environment, capital and the services it provides. It will provide a programme of activity to put the value of the natural environment at the heart of Government accounting and decision-making, including policies on water, the marine environment, air quality, biodiversity, soil health, landscapes and recreation. And, while we are still analysing responses, it’s clear there is an emerging consensus that working at the scale that works best for the environmental issues involved must be the way forward.</p> <p>And we only have to look at Modbury in Devon to see what consensus can achieve. Modbury’s 43 individual retailers, its residents and local environmentalists all agreed to stop using plastic bags. What started as a pilot three years ago is still going strong today and other towns – both in the UK and in Europe – have asked them for help in launching similar initiatives. Of course different parts of the country will have different environmental priorities – and find individual solutions – but by acting at this local level collectively we can make a national difference.</p> <p>The positive impact that businesses can have is will be even greater – particularly when it comes to waste. We are aiming for a zero waste economy. Not one where there is no waste – but one which fully values its materials for what they are: resources. And one which, as a result, extracts the maximum economic and environmental benefits from them. Where good design minimises waste from the start and the resources that go into a product are easy to extract when that product reaches the end of its life.</p> <p>The Review of Waste policies we are currently carrying out will look at all aspects of waste policy from the start of the supply chain through to its end – creating a closed loop supply chain. The call for evidence, which ended last month, was well supported – we are analysing the responses now and aim to publish our preliminary findings next Spring.</p> <p>The Review will challenge business to go faster and further in eliminating the waste used in production and packaging and in delivering products which can be re-incarnated as something new – again and again. Like the Nike 2010 World Cup kit which included a T-shirt made from eight plastic bottles taken from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill. Or the construction company which has developed synthetic wood which can be re-used again and again, creating an almost infinite lifecycle. But we will also work with business – expanding the scope of voluntary responsibility deals, building on the achievements delivered so far by agreements such as Courtauld and the construction commitment.</p> <p>Our findings will challenge Government and the Environment agency too – to provide businesses and consumers with the right policies, information and incentives to make it easy to do the right thing at home and in the workplace.</p> <p>And we’ll be looking to the Environment Agency to help those businesses – particularly small businesses – which want to comply with regulation while also taking a firm line against those who deliberately ignore the law or harm the environment. We also think it’s time to reduce the proliferation of regulation generated by Government and the burden it places on businesses and civil society. So we’ve introduced the ‘One-in, One-out’ rule – no legislation involving costs can be introduced without removing existing regulation of the same value.</p> <p>In Europe too, we are working to reduce the burden of EU legislation – working together to achieve our environmental objectives with minimum burdens. Both Defra and the Environment Agency face some serious challenges and we have made some serious commitments. We will be working with business, the third sector, communities and user groups to meet them.</p> <p>We will need the support, the innovation and the dynamism of everyone here today to shape an environmental and economic legacy we can feel proud to hand over to the generations to come.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:31:43 Caroline Spelman Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP – ‘Securing our sustainable natural environment in the years ahead’ – Environment Agency – 24 November 2010 2010-11-24 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>[Not checked against delivery]</p> <p>It is great to be here with such a wide and diverse audience</p> <p>And at such an exciting time for biodiversity. As you know, I recently returned from the Biodiversity Summit at Nagoya in Japan. A summit that – by all standards – was a great success.</p> <p>Almost 200 countries agreed an ambitious global conservation plan to protect biodiversity worldwide, an international Protocol to establish a fair and transparent system on the use of the world’s genetic resources and a strategy for mobilizing more resources towards the conservation of biodiversity. I believe this outcome demonstrated two significant things:</p> <p>Firstly that, despite the problems we may have seen at Copenhagen, the global community has not turned their backs on the need for international unity on major issues.</p> <p>Nagoya has shown that we can come together and reach common agreement on the critically important global challenges facings us.</p> <p>And secondly – and most importantly – it made clear that the international community is no longer prepared to accept the ongoing destruction of the natural world.</p> <p>It is painfully clear that we have missed our previous targets and that global biodiversity continues to decline at alarming rates. Ministers from across the world recognised that this simply has to stop. The loss of biodiversity can’t go on. And not just because we value it for its own sake. Although of course we do.</p> <p>The loss of biodiversity can’t continue, because – economically, socially- we simply can’t afford it.</p> <p>From the global to the local, we rely on healthy biodiversity, ecosystems and habitats – and for business, addressing these issues – or not – is increasingly affecting their bottom line.</p> <p>Consumers have growing expectations of businesses when it comes to biodiversity – and those which operate globally are more likely to come under scrutiny.</p> <p>A recent MORI poll of top Chief Executives showed over 70% of them recognised that adapting to climate change – in effect, operating sustainably – was a key challenge. While the work of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development is providing visible leadership to encourage our businesses to build in sustainability at every step.</p> <p>But quite aside from being <strong>seen</strong> to do the right thing, the loss of biodiversity spells a very real financial loss to our global economies and to your profits – at a time when we need growth more than ever. The global cost of just one year’s worth of deforestation is estimated at between $2 and $5 trillion.</p> <p>While European research shows pollination services provided – gratis – by insects are worth over 150 billion euros worldwide – every year. Biodiversity and balance sheets are fundamentally linked – they will only become more so in the years ahead.</p> <p>That’s why I was pleased about the agreement at Nagoya – that we must stop seeing biodiversity as some side issue, a luxury, a nice to have, a ‘green’ issue.</p> <p>I was really struck in Japan by the extent to which delegates from across the globe agreed that if we really going to make progress on biodiversity, we must take it outside of the ‘biodiversity box’ and start to address the underlying causes of its loss.</p> <p>Because, the fate of biodiversity does not lie in the hands of a few conservationists or the green movement. The fate of biodiversity does not even lie within the hands of Defra!</p> <p>The future of our biodiversity will be determined by the way we all live our lives – across all sectors; the way we do business, the way we plan our developments, the way we use our resources, the way we participate in our local communities, the way we make sustainable or unsustainable lifestyle choices.</p> <p>We must mainstream biodiversity issues across sectors, across government and across society. Biodiversity is our natural capital. A valuable asset that we can no longer continue to erode. But we must work together to understand and appreciate what that value is. Because, if you don’t value something, you just don’t look after it.</p> <p>I was delighted to see Pavan Sukhdev’s completed work on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – or TEEB – launched in Nagoya. The UK government has been both a staunch political and financial supporter of TEEB from its inception many years ago at the G8 summit in Potsdam.</p> <p>TEEB has succeeded in drawing our attention to the economic dimensions of biodiversity and ecosystem services – the benefits they deliver, the costs of their loss and degradation, and ultimately their value to human well-being. TEEB shows us the incredible costs of losing biodiversity worldwide. For example, if we lose corals, we don’t just lose a recreational resource for the rich, we lose a source of food for about 500 million people.</p> <p>If we lose forests, this does not only bring disastrous climate change impacts and loss of biodiversity, but we risk losing benefits that equate to between 47% and 89% of the total income of some of the world’s poorest people.</p> <p>That’s why we must use the economics of sustainability to protect the planet’s trees from mass deforestation in the face of spiralling global demand for commodities such as palm oil and soya. But this isn’t just about the costs of loss.</p> <p>By not appreciating the value of nature we can also miss out on great value for money investments.</p> <p>For example, one of the examples given in the TEEB for business report outlined how by planting 400,000 trees in Canberra, Australia delivered savings in air conditioning expenditure, improvements in urban air quality and carbon storage worth between US$20m to US$67m.</p> <p>We know that where action to protect biodiversity is taken it pays off – socially, economically and environmentally. The international TEEB study – The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – tells us that protecting biodiversity can have a benefit to cost ratio of as much as 100:1.</p> <p>So the case is being made for biodiversity. We know that biodiversity is good for business. We know we all have a role to play. Nagoya has set us quite a challenge.</p> <p>The UK, along with 192 other Parties has agreed to take the necessary and effective urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity.</p> <p>I ask you as the voluntary sector, the business sector, the finance sector, the conservation sector – are you ready to meet that challenge?</p> <p>And – if, as I hope, you are – what are you going to do?</p> <p>The government can set the framework but we all need to act.</p> <p>We certainly stand ready to meet the challenge as government. And I’ll tell you some of the ways in which we intend to do this:</p> <p>I worked hard to shape the international framework, working with our EU colleagues and key negotiating partners such as Brazil and South Africa to ensure we achieved success in Nagoya.</p> <p>But in many ways, the real test of UK leadership starts now – we must lead by example.</p> <p>The global 2020 targets agreed at Nagoya will pose a new challenge and focus for biodiversity. This is a challenge we must take head on.</p> <p>That is why within Defra we have already begun a full review or our England Biodiversity Strategy to take account of the Nagoya agreement.</p> <p>We will also publish a new Natural Environment White Paper this spring which will set out how we plan to take key elements forward. This White Paper will articulate a new, compelling and integrated vision about the value of our natural environment, capital and services. It will set out a programme of actions designed to put the value of the natural environment at the heart of Government accounting and decision-making.</p> <p>On TEEB and valuation, we recognise that the crucial next step is taking the messages of TEEB and putting them into practice. Which is why at Nagoya, I announced a further £400K to help promote and embed TEEB in developing countries. This effectively more than doubles our contribution to the project so far.</p> <p>I also announced a further £500k from the UK Government to help establish a new Global Partnership on Ecosystem Valuation and Wealth Accounting –this is a project involving the World Bank and a number of countries worldwide to help countries integrate the values of biodiversity and ecosystems into national polices.</p> <p>Closer to home, we are taking steps to demonstrate the value of our natural environment through investing in our own National Ecosystem assessment which for the first time will analyse of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity.</p> <p>The first phase of the assessment has already demonstrated how fundamentally our natural environment underpins the well being of our society.</p> <p>The second phase will show the real value of these benefits to the UK – both in monetary and non-monetary terms and will be published in the Spring. But we must all work together. And closer to home is where you come in.</p> <p>By thinking innovatively and by working in partnerships – by being a pro-active part of the Big Society – business can help deliver a better natural environment for us all.</p> <p>Let me give you an example: For the past 5 years the Westcountry Rivers Trust has worked with South West Water and other partners to develop the ‘Upstream Thinking’ project. This initiative is innovation in practice.</p> <p>Through improving river quality and ecology ‘upstream’, this project delivers multiple benefits – it improves the raw water quality while helping safeguard the biodiversity of the region’s rivers. These are the win-win solutions businesses should be striving towards. Solutions that are good for biodiversity, good for people – and of course good for business.</p> <p>In this particular project there was a clear incentive for the water company to protect upstream biodiversity as it led to effective decreases in the cost of water treatment before supply.</p> <p>There is so much that British business is already doing – from environmental audits to ensuring supply chains minimise their impact on natural assets at every stage.</p> <p>And some of you here today are already intrinsically linked in your consumers’ minds with good practice and a lack of complacency. But we need to build on this. We’d like to see those organisations which don’t already consider their impacts on the environment and on biodiversity to make these elements an intrinsic part of their production, design and manufacturing models – if they don’t do it now they will be forced to play catch-up with their competitors later.</p> <p>TEEB has also shown that although at face value it may seem an easier option to just disregard biodiversity, ultimately this will lead to much greater costs for us all.</p> <p>Greening your operations will deliver savings and efficiencies from reducing your carbon footprint by streamlining supply chains; using energy conservation to reduce heating bills; improving management of water resources reduces costs.</p> <p>Businesses can also play an active role at the community level, where many of you are best place to engage families, schools, communities.</p> <p>And there’s something you can already start helping us with. Defra will be launching its national tree planting campaign during national tree week – which starts on the 29<sup>th</sup> of this month. It will bring civil society organisations together to help local communities plant trees – improving their environments and their quality of life and bringing nature right into the heart of our towns and cities.</p> <p>We are asking businesses to get involved – support the campaign nationally by planting trees around their offices and car parks and support it locally – by helping local community and charity projects whether with cash or volunteers. So, a fortnight from now, please look at our campaign pages on DirectGov and the Tree Council’s website which will have details of local projects and events.</p> <p>I thank IUCN for the opportunity to speak at this excellent event. And I hope that this conference will demonstrate that biodiversity is an issue of relevance to everyone here today.</p> <p>From global to local, this is just the beginning, and I realise there is a long road from Nagoya to reaching the ambitious goals we have set ourselves.</p> <p>I hope you stand ready to join me in taking the first step.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:32:02 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman’s speech at The Economics of Nature: Taking stock, sharing action event – 16 November 2010 2010-11-16 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Environmental damage used to conjure up pictures of car fumes and billowing smoke from heavy industry. We now understand that everything we buy and use has an impact on the environment. And that this impact happens all the way through a product’s existence, from its design, production and use, through to what happens to it when it stops being useful to its owner.</p> <p>The government’s pledge to be the greenest ever is not a choice – it’s an imperative. There is no point in rebuilding the economy unless it’s a green economy: one that actively prevents waste and accurately reflects the value of our natural resources.</p> <p>Energy efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint of products and services is a challenge is already understood and being addressed by leaders across society. The Green Alliance’s Pathway to Greener Products report, for example, is a pioneering piece of work.</p> <p>And it’s inspiring to see the commitment and the ingenuity that’s being applied in the business sector. </p> <p>I recently visited a plant of a famous high street chemist, and was shown how it is assessing the sustainability of its products, and using design to stop waste. </p> <p>I found out about their efforts to reduce packaging. About a plant that creates plastic bottles out of recycled PET. About a project to use a factory’s waste heat and CO2 emissions to produce algae to be used in beauty products. </p> <p>This ingenuity, backed by government and EU action, could design much of waste out of the equation. But we also need consumers to play their part. </p> <p>At Boots I spoke to a team who had discovered that, for a product such as shampoo, the biggest part of its carbon foot print is not in the making of the bottle, or the transportation, but in the water heated when it’s being used by the consumer after the purchase. </p> <p>How do businesses help consumers? And how does government help?</p> <p>We need to keep researching the way people use products, and understanding why they do what they do. We need to get clear about how best we can influence behaviour, where efforts will be most productive. Because, despite the good work that’s already being done, doing “the right thing” for the environment is still a minefield of confusing, often contradictory information and advice. We may not be able to persuade people to wash their hair with cold water. But, using robust evidence – customer insight, as it’s called – we can help people start to use appliances in the most efficient way; and help both businesses and consumers move towards more environmentally sustainable lifestyles. </p> <p>We must make it easier for consumers to make the right choices, through providing clear, straightforward information. Through energy labelling and eco-labelling, and by eradicating “greenwash” and making sure all green claims are trustworthy. </p> <p>That’s part of government’s work. But what we’re here to talk about today is the setting of standards, and creating the right tools to test products against those standards. </p> <p>Minimum energy performance standards and energy labelling are vital.</p> <p>They get rid of the worst performing items, and encourage manufacturers to go for green options. Labelling then lets consumers choose the most efficient products. </p> <p>We need to reduce global energy-related C02 emissions to half their current levels by 2050. The International Energy Agency says that energy efficiency improvements will make the single largest contribution to achieving this goal. In the UK, the Government is developing the Green Deal, a “game changer” policy to improve energy efficiency of domestic and commercial buildings focussing on the “fabric of the building” itself, for example improving insulation levels. But products such as appliances, consumer electronics, lighting, and the biggest consumer of them all: heating systems have a significant role to play too. In Europe the Ecodesign Directive covers these products which represent over 50% of the EU’s primary energy consumption – the original ambition was to save 10% of the EU’s energy consumption by 2020, thus going half of the way to meeting our overall target to cut energy use by 20%. And it’s effective: a recent study (the Ecofys-Fraunhofer report) highlighted the Ecodesign Directive as ‘the most effective instrument at EU level in energy efficiency policy’. In the UK, measures agreed so far under the Eco-design directive are expected to save emission almost 7Million tonnes of CO2 per annum and generate just over £850 million net benefits per annum to British householders and business users. </p> <p>Next week, the transposition of the EU Eco-Design Directive into UK law will be complete. But standards need to be agreed and implemented, so our work in Europe continues.<br> Minimum standards can only come from Europe; and it is for Europe to implement them. The UK’s job is to persuade Europe – the EC, the Member States and European Parliament – to agree the most dynamic and ambitious standards possible, based on solid evidence. There have been delays in reaching an agreement on such standards over the past year or so. I’m looking forward now to a speedy resolution and the Commission bringing new impetuous in this area, particularly in the context of the revised EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan the Commission is developing. </p> <p>These standards are not just about the environment, of course. They can generate big benefits to UK and EU industry; through savings on energy bills; by stimulating innovation – and competition. The UK is in a strong position here, on research and design if not actual manufacture. And, as other nations outside EU introduce their energy efficiency standards, the EU can really help its own manufacturers through ambitious yet achievable standards for Europe.<br> For these potential benefits to become reality and to ensure a level playing field for industry, we need effective monitoring, verification and enforcement systems to ensure that products comply with the minimum and labelling standards. This is something we take very seriously in the UK, and we are introducing a new range of tools such as administrative penalties and cost sharing through the transposition of the recast Eco-design Directive to ensure the standards are delivered and that there is level playing field for businesses.</p> <p>We’re not just working with the EU. The USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, China and India all have minimum and labelling standards. If as an international community we are going to reduce carbon emissions through these means, we need to move towards international convergence. </p> <p>Looking in to the future, the Eco-design directive has the potential to address more then just energy efficiency and I look forward to it addressing other environmental impacts, such as resource efficiency, recycled content and others, if the evidence show they are significant.</p> <p>But Government’s work and influence is not just about setting standards. It’s also about leading by example as in our commitment to “the Greenest Government ever”. One of the best ways we can ensure a market for green goods is by using our own buying power, so through green public procurement and Government Buying Standards.</p> <p>Reducing our impact on the environment is a huge and challenging responsibility. </p> <p>It’s also a great opportunity for all sectors to flex their scientific, creative and entrepreneurial muscles and both lead and support the journey to a new green economy. </p> <p>I look forward to us fully delivering the benefits of the Eco-design directive through the speedy agreement in Europe of ambitious yet achievable future implementing measures. </p> 2011-03-04 21:32:21 Lord Henley Lord Henley’s keynote address to Green Alliance conference on the Eco Design Directive – 11 November 2010 2010-11-11 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>I think that we are all clear that we are now within touching distance of a historic agreement here in Nagoya.</p> <p>I have been greatly encouraged by the positive spirit of cooperation as I have talked to colleagues since I arrived on Monday, and I would like to pay tribute to our hosts, who have done so much to provide a splendid environment for our discussions.</p> <p>I have been very impressed by how much progress has been made on such a wide range of sometimes difficult issues, and I am confident that we can now see home an ambitious package of measures, which can really make a difference to our natural world.</p> <p>Finance is essential if we are going to address these challenges. We already know that the Global Environment Facility will spend $1.2 billion on biodiversity over the 2010-14 period, following its successful replenishment with $4.3 billion – the UK increased its contribution by 50%.  And the GEF has also established a new $250 million programme for sustainable forest management which will deliver climate change and biodiversity benefits.</p> <p>These are difficult times, and last week the UK government announced deep cuts in public expenditure. But we are still providing new money for climate finance and a substantial portion of it will be for forestry. This will deliver biodiversity co-benefits. And I am delighted to announce that the UK will provide a new special fund of £100m over the next four years specifically designed to deliver biodiversity benefits through international forestry.</p> <p>The UK is very proud of its highly successful Darwin Initiative, which has delivered over 700 projects in 156 countries around the world. They have contributed to biodiversity objectives, poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods.</p> <p>I am also delighted to say that the UK will not only sustain the existing level of funding of £7m per year, but now plans to increase it over the next four years.</p> <p>In addition, we will provide the following new funding commitments supporting international biodiversity:</p> <ul> <li>£2 million over the next four years to help establish the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services, known as “IPP-BESS”;</li> <li>£200,000 funding for an initiative to save the endangered Henderson petrel in the Pacific; and</li> <li>£400,000 towards TEEB follow-up for case studies and capacity building in developing countries;</li> </ul> <p>The UK is committed to bringing about real change in the way in which natural capital and ecosystem services are valued and mainstream into decision making processes. To help achieve this, I am delighted to announce that the UK is supporting the preparation of the Global Partnership on Ecosystem Services Valuation and Wealth Accounting.</p> <p>So, I hope that these announcements will reassure everybody here that we are serious about our commitment to dealing with the challenges we all face. The UK Government is making deep reductions in public expenditure. Even so, we are increasing our funding for international biodiversity and we will meet our commitment to provide 0.7% of our GNI in overseas development assistance from 2013.</p> <p>But of course it is not just a question of providing resources. We know that we must all agree on a Strategic plan which sets clear ambitious and achievable targets to address the key challenges facing biodiversity and tackle biodiversity loss.</p> <p>We must also reach agreement on a protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, ensuring fair and transparent access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from their use.</p> <p>That is the challenge we face, and I firmly believe that we are now well-placed to finalise this crucial package.</p> <p>It is essential that biodiversity, climate change, food security and poverty reduction are tackled together. We will not succeed if we try to deal with them individually. The Summit last month in New York, our meeting in Nagoya this week and Cancun next month provide us with a tremendous opportunity to address these interlinked challenges. Together, we must seize it. We simply cannot afford not to.</p> 2011-03-04 21:32:37 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman’s speech at Nagoya biodiversity conference – 27 October 2010 2010-10-27 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>A recent article by Mike McCarthy the Environment Editor at the Independent newspaper questioned the use of the term biodiversity.</p> <p>He felt it was a pompous way of saying wildlife. He thought it created a gap between policymakers and the public.  If you stop to think about it – how many people do you know say I love watching biodiversity documentaries on the television. They are more likely to say I love watching wildlife films on the TV.</p> <p>But as Mike said it’s the currency in use in the policymaking debate about the future of the natural world and as such should be embraced if people want to engage in the discussion.</p> <p>Though despite this some of the messages must be getting through because in his article Mike also talked about the fact that conservation efforts are increasing around the world.</p> <p>As part of that effort I’m pleased to announce the launch of a unique collection of wildlife images from species found within our Overseas Territories. The collection will eventually consist of over 200 audio visual profiles that will be available online and on a free DVD for use by people around the world.</p> <p>This is a joint effort backed by Defra/DFID and the Foreign Office and put together by Wildscreen as part of their ARKive project.  I understand ARKive have a stand here today so if you can go along and take a look at some of the fantastic imagery on display.</p> <p>This launch is particularly significant because many of the species and habitats found within our Overseas Territories are found nowhere else in the world. As such they underpin the lives of many local people through fishing and tourism which in turn develops further the economic and social fabric of communities in the Territories.</p> <p>Emperor penguins are a charismatic and much-loved component of the wildlife in many of the Territories, especially in the South Atlantic, and attract tourism and consequently valuable revenue. Indeed other seabirds, both common to the Territories and found elsewhere, attract people to some of the least affluent of the Territories, such as Ascension Island, the home to the Ascension Frigatebird, and Tristan da Cunha with its Tristan Albatross.</p> <p>On the wider stage we are all gearing up for Nagoya later this month. It’s the showpiece event for the International Year of Biodiversity.</p> <p>It’s important that in Japan we look to set the framework for conservation post 2010.</p> <p>It’s important we learn from our experience since Johannesburg 2002.  Important we recognise that the international community collectively failed to meet the targets set in South Africa.</p> <p>We now need to focus activity on new ambitions and make sure the UK takes a leading role in this work.</p> <p>So how will this take shape? We need the international community to recognise that we are all in this together. And as such we all need to secure an agreement on ambitious and realistic action post 2010.</p> <p>Above all it’s important everyone understands that biodiversity is not seen as a side issue  - as an after-thought or  ‘a nice to have’. It is fundamental to our survival. We must take action to conserve it.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:32:56 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon – Natural History Museum – 7th October 2011-10-07 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>When I first joined Governement I met with John Beddington, Defra’s chief scientist who set out the ‘Perfect Storm’ in terms of future energy, food and water shortage. It’s important that we can look over the horizon, well past the electoral cycle in order to solve these challenges.</p> <p>I have been in Government for 5 months. In that time I have had to get ‘up to speed’ as Civil Servants put it on water issues in particular as well as a range of other tecky subjects under my brief, I have had to get my head around.</p> <p>It’s quite a good time to reflect on how the system works and perhaps to be frank about it how it doesn’t.</p> <p>You all live and breathe this industry that you know and care about. Some of you will have been there since privatisation – and before – and can talk without notes for ages about the details of water efficiency – the structure of your individual companies – competition – regulation – bad debt provision – the effects of climate change, factors you’re dealing with every day.</p> <p>What you want from a Minister is yes an understanding of the details. Yes, a willingness to listen to those in the industry, NGOs and the consumers.</p> <p>But also a willingness to act. Far from being arrogant and rail-roading through half formed ideas – and this isn’t a political comment – I sense that Government has until now adopted a overly cautious approach.</p> <p>It has often been less Education, Education, Education and more -</p> <p>Consultation! Consultation! Consultation!</p> <p>I hope you feel that this Government, while listening and yes, consulting to a point, will also be one that is prepared to take action.</p> <p>Trusting partners such as those in this room to do the right thing for – the infrastructure – the environment – the customer – the investor.</p> <h3>Climate Change</h3> <ul> <li>All of these elements underpin the framework that needs to be established to tackle the challenges presented by climate change to water matters.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>There are those who still don’t believe that climate change is happening, even though most of us accept it, we need to move on from the debate now and address it.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Water availability is likely to become more variable, with resources in the south eastern part of this country predicted to be under particular stress.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Under climate change scenarios, summer and autumn river flows could reduce by 50% or more, while average flows could reduce by up to 15%. The implications are massive.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>As a result the number of water bodies with access to reliable water could fall by almost half with a significant increase in damage to the environment.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Meanwhile, under worst case climate change scenarios, water demand by consumers could increase by 55%, industrial demand by 10% and agricultural demand by 180%, the last meaning that significantly more irrigation could be required.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>So facing changes in water availability countrywide, compounded by variable weather patterns in the future and the increasing temperature of river water. Our rivers and wetlands, and the ecology they support, could change substantially.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The recent hosepipe ban in Cumbria preceded by severe storm in November of last year – just one example of variable weather, we must get used to.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Through PR09, Ofwat agreed to over 100 catchment management schemes and investigations. There are good examples of water companies taking action to address the problem at source rather than at treatment works. South West Water estimates that over 30 years, the cost ratio benefit of addressing problems at source would be 65:1.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>As well as climate change water supplies will face other pressures. <ul> <li>An increasing population</li> <li>More single households</li> <li>Changing land use and increasing need for agricultural irrigation – to produce more food.</li> <li>Pressure on our resources across the piece.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul> <li>In response water companies will have to find more innovative ways to bring about land management improvements which reduce costs.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Consider how to tackle the historical legacy of environmental damage from unsustainable water abstraction as effectively and efficiently as possible.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>and how to promote green economic growth</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Water efficiency will become increasingly important as we adapt to the consequences of climate change</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Consumers need to value water and have a better appreciation of the consequences of excessive or wasteful use.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Progress has been made in increasing the role that demand management can play in meeting the supply/demand balance.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Further action is required to reduce household water consumption in a variety of ways eg education.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>I would like to acknowledge some of the work water companies are doing in schools.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>This gives you an idea of some of the environmental, social and economic challenges that face us.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Important we have plans in place to tackle these issues head on.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Water companies are an example of a sector where planning for climate change is under way. Looking forward to their reports under the Climate Change Act which will be submitted in January.</li> </ul> <h3>Water White Paper</h3> <ul> <li>Our Water White paper will set out a clear and stable direction for the water industry and consider how we respond to the challenge of managing our water resources in the face of climate change and growing demand.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>This will reflect this Government’s commitment to building a strong economy – aiming to ensure water is available to support economic growth.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The figure we should be shouting about is the £85 billion has been invested in the industry since privatisation and over £21 billion will be invested under Price Review 09.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>I recognise the need for continued investment in the industry – for maintenance of current infrastructure and new build. Have heard a clear message that a stable policy and regulatory framework is essential for the water industry to remain attractive to the investment community. That does not mean no change – but decisions around industry reform must and will be taken carefully, with a full understanding of the many implications.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>There are some challenging issues for the White Paper to address:</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How to meet the water resource challenges of the future and adapt to climate change.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How to improve our water efficiency and reduce demand.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How to minimise burdens – increase consumer choice – drive innovation – improve customer service and value.</li> </ul> <h3>Water resources</h3> <ul> <li>Ensuring secure and resilient water resources for the future is a particular challenge.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How do we make sure water is available to meet demand – and reduce that demand where we can?</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We may need to think about how to be smarter about managing demand when water is in short supply – not just when we have droughts.  One option could be seasonal tariffs.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We will need to engage with customers in a more sophisticated manner so they understand the need for demand management in the face of climate change.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We also need a more responsive abstraction management regime to avoid increased impacts on our rivers from the substantially lower water flows in late summer as predicted.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The current system has evolved over the last 40 or so years, it has limited flexibility to respond to these challenges.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The vast majority of our water is not covered by ‘hands off flow’ requirements.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The system needs reform. For us to do this we need to consider our options:</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How do we make more water available to new abstractors while protecting the environment?</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How do we reduce the barriers to abstraction licence trading?</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Should we use prices to incentivise the reduction of unacceptable environmental impacts?</li> </ul> <ul> <li>If we use social tariffs we would need to get the balance right.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>As we develop the Water White Paper we can’t move forward in isolation.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We need to work in close consultation with you and others in the industry.  We also need to work with other water users and those who have an impact environmentally to come up with innovative sustainable solutions.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>While at the same time finding more innovative ways to help bring about land management improvements which reduce water company costs.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>I’m also looking for your input on a number of issues:</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The public consultation on draft guidance on surface water drainage charges closes next week. – many of you have given your thoughts already.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We plan to issue the final guidance to companies by the end of the year. This will help those community groups facing unaffordable water bills.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The Ofwat review, is the call for evidence closing at the end of this month. It’s an important review and I would encourage you to submit your thoughts.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>We will also be consulting on issues raised in Anna Walker’s review later this year – on metering and affordability and the relationship to water efficiency.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Metering can unlock the potential for a step change in conserving water.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>So should the Government grasp the nettle and require compulsory metering where the benefits outweigh the costs, as recommended by Anna Walker?</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How do we ensure that large households on modest incomes can still afford their bills under compulsory metering?  Particularly during a time of austerity – Anna Walker’s recommendations on affordability come at a high price.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Southern Water is already taking steps to meet these challenges as it starts to roll out universal metering.  What I like about Southern’s approach is the way that it is linking affordability advice and support with water and energy audits for those impacted the most by compulsory metering.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The Walker consultation will also help to shape our guidance on company social tariffs which we will consult on after we’ve published the White Paper.</li> </ul> <p>So you can see there’s a number of challenges ahead. We need to make sure we are in the best shape to meet these challenges.</p> <p>The quality and availability of the water we use is paramount to the quality of life we lead.  It’s imperative we secure and maintain this valuable resource. A resource not only vital to the environment and people’s health but to the prosperity of our country.</p> <p>Above all its important that together we get all of this right, so we will consult, listen and act and put the water sector on a strong footing for generations to come.</p> <p>I welcome your contributions to this debate. It’s a huge opportunity  for everyone here to influence the way we go forward to make a difference and ensure we have a sound and robust system in place for years to come.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:33:14 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon – Water 2010 speech – 13th October 2011-10-13 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<h2>Adaptation Sub-Committee Report launch – 16 September 2010</h2> <p>Thank you John (Krebs) and my congratulations on the publication of the ASC’s first report.</p> <p>The report is encouraging in its acknowledgement of the progress that has been made so far, and delivers a timely warning that much more remains to be done – not least by Government.</p> <p>I hope that by setting out our strategic approach this morning you will gain a clearer picture of this Government’s approach to tackling the adaptation challenge.</p> <p>An approach which recognises that the impacts of a changing climate will present genuine opportunities, as well as very real threats.</p> <p>Today’s report provides a wake- up call.</p> <p>It recognises that there is no part of our society which is immune from the effects of climate change.</p> <p>Which means that every part of our society must think about its resilience.</p> <p>At this point, I’d like to make something very clear.</p> <p>This Government will not give up the battle to tackle the causes of climate change.</p> <p>Quite the reverse – we are committed to providing global leadership in achieving agreements to bring down greenhouse gas emissions internationally and to drive down our own emissions at home.</p> <p>Mitigation and adaptation are actually the two sides of the climate change coin.</p> <p>And there are many steps we can take – some as straightforward as planting trees or protecting forests– that will mitigate climate change while also helping us adapt to its effects.</p> <p>But while it is vital that we continue the task of drastically cutting our greenhouse gas emissions, we know that we are already facing levels of unavoidable climate change.</p> <p>UK Temperatures are an average of 1c higher than they were in the ‘70’s.</p> <p>That might not sound significant in its own right, but then we consider this:</p> <p>The last decade has been the warmest on record.</p> <p>The Met Office has confirmed that the last winter was the coldest in over 30 years.</p> <p>And this July was one of the wettest since records began.</p> <p>None of which proved much comfort to our farmers – the NFU has warned that the driest first six months in nearly 70 years has hit domestic wheat production particularly badly.</p> <p>Before the Stern Review in 2006 we hadn’t put a price on the impact of climate change.</p> <p>Post-Stern it is becoming increasingly clear that we are all paying it.</p> <p>Insured losses from UK weather-related events, as this report points out, now total £1.5 billion a year.</p> <p>And that’s in a good year.</p> <p>According to the Association of British Insurers, the summer floods of 2007 left a bill of £3.1 billion of insured damage.</p> <p>The costs to those whose homes and businesses were damaged – and to the wider economy – were even greater.</p> <p>There are some impacts, of course, on which we cannot put a price.</p> <p>Looking back, the heatwave of 2003 is estimated to have caused the premature deaths of up to 2,000 people in Britain – and that summer was only 2c hotter than average.</p> <p>While looking forward, last year’s report from theGlobal Humanitarian Forum estimated premature global deaths due to climate change could rise to 500,000 in just twenty years time.</p> <p>And UK climate change projections suggest even higher temperatures and more severe weather in the coming years.</p> <p>In 1985, 29 scientists came together to discuss the issue of climate change and publicly concluded for the first time that ‘ in the first half of the next century a rise of global mean temperature could occur which is greater than any in man’s history.’</p> <p>Yet it took at least another 20 years for the fact of climate change to gain mainstream recognition amongst the public and international governments.</p> <p>We cannot wait another 20 years to take the steps we must to adapt to its effects – we do not have the luxury of time.</p> <p>Defra’s UK Climate Projections, published last year indicate that, at the extreme end of the range, temperatures on the hottest day in summer could increase by over 7c before 2050.</p> <p>While eight out of the last ten years have brought serious flooding events to Britain.</p> <p>We cannot talk this impact down, we cannot negotiate with it and we cannot rationalise it away.</p> <p>We must start dealing with it and we must start now.</p> <p>The Coalition Agreement stated unequivocally that climate change is one of the gravest threats we face and mitigating and adapting to it remains one of this Government’s central priorities.</p> <p>This Government is pushing ahead with measures to ensure that climate change adaptation becomes an ingrained part of how we manage our natural environment – particularly in critical areas such as water efficiency and food production.</p> <p>And, as we plan ahead we need a major horizon shift – away from solutions that only work in the short term.</p> <p>Our decisions need to be effective in both the short term <span style="text-decoration: underline">and</span> the long term – with built in flexibility to adapt and change as we build a more accurate picture of what we’re up against.</p> <p>The forthcoming White Papers on the Natural Environment and Water as well as the new National Policy Statements will embed adaptation into decisions on natural resource management, new investments and business planning.</p> <p>We will create a unified approach to making the most of what we already have – because many of our resources are finite.</p> <p>Indeed, some, such as biodiversity and the plentiful supply of water are in decline.</p> <p>Using what we have sustainably is going to be one of the tests we must pass to adapt successfully.</p> <p>It is a challenge to which every part of Government must rise, not solely those parts of it with responsibility for the environment or for climate change, but also those responsible for transport, schools, hospitals and emergency services.</p> <p>But the Prime Minister has referred to Defra as a key emergency service and I’m very clear that it is our role to help bring together the whole of Government to ensure we can and do adapt to whatever lies ahead of us – which is why I am encouraging colleagues across Government to make sure our key departmental policies are developed with the aim of supporting an economy which is strong, sustainable and resilient to climate change.</p> <p>But Government cannot do it alone.</p> <p>We need to shift control for action away from the state while ensuring Government maintains its role in providing world class evidence and co-ordinating the actions of the many players involved in adaptation on the ground.</p> <p>And those players – be they local authorities, businesses, industry and those on whom we rely for our infrastructure – need to recognise both the economic and a social necessity to take steps to protect those areas for which they are responsible.</p> <p>Because Britain’s economy will only be as resilient and prepared as British firms, communities and infrastructure.</p> <p>Many of our most successful businesses have been planning for the future for some time.</p> <p>Our farmers are increasingly using science and precision agriculture to grow more food using fewer resources, particularly water, while reducing their impact on the environment and their own greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>Our supermarkets regularly stress test their supply chains against extreme weather scenarios.</p> <p>But there remains a gap in both awareness and action between big and small businesses.</p> <p>A recent poll by MORI showed 73% of large companies were advanced in their understanding of the need for adaptation, yet only 56% of small companies had reached this stage.</p> <p>And, according to Defra’s own figures, while one in three businesses in England have been significantly affected by extreme weather in the last three years, just one in four have done anything to increase their resilience.</p> <p>If more than 75% of our businesses remain unprotected we are in danger of ending up with a two-tier commercial sector – those that have adapted successfully and those who didn’t see it coming.</p> <p>This is not about investing tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds in making our assets drought, hurricane or flood-proof but of calculating the risks most likely to affect your business and taking proportionate steps to minimise them or, better still, turn them to your advantage.</p> <p>And, despite the uncertainty we currently have about just how severe the impacts we must adapt to will actually get, assessing this type of risk doesn’t have to be a guessing game.</p> <p>I agree with Lord Krebs’ view that it would be presumptuous of us to think we could advise business where they should seek opportunities. They will have their antennae and their intelligence.</p> <p>What Government can do is provide them with information and models to help them calculate just how severe the impacts will actually be.</p> <p>Defra’s world-leading UK Climate Change Projections provide useful information on how the UK climate could change up until 2100, while the Defra funded UK Climate Impacts Programme provides tools which businesses and planners can use to assess the risks most likely to affect them in the future.</p> <p>And later this afternoon, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sir John Beddington, will launch a new website which explains the science behind the headlines on climate change.</p> <p>With these and the Met Office’s increasingly high resolution operational models we have the best science in the world to help us plan ahead.</p> <p>And many organisations on which we depend have been using it for some time.</p> <p>Network Rail is currently working with the Met Office, using their data to help stress test thousands of miles of rail tracks, embankments and bridges to see if they can stand up to the patters of extreme weather predicted over the coming decades.</p> <p>It’s not cheap – the investigation itself will cost them around £750,000.</p> <p>But when Network Rail point to savings of around £1billion over 30 years, then this kind of work starts to look like incredibly good value for money.</p> <p>Anglian Water, too, has used the UK Climate Projections to assess the likely changes in the frequency of extreme rainfall which lead to the failure of sewage systems in England.</p> <p>In fact, there are few areas of our economy where opportunities for forward-thinking businesses don’t exist.</p> <p>Different weather patterns can allow UK farmers to grow new crops, which could reduce the carbon footprint of importing certain foods – or take advantage of an extended growing season.</p> <p>Warmer summers will extend the UK tourist season – with the opportunity to reduce the number of short haul flights if they holiday at home – and reinvigorate domestic tourism.</p> <p>The construction industry will gain new markets in adapting buildings and developing models for new, better ventilated homes.</p> <p>And the transition to a low carbon, well-adapted global economy could create hundreds of thousands of sustainable ‘green’ jobs.</p> <p>While many of the UK’s key infrastructure decisions will remain at the heart of government thinking, some of the biggest wins are those available to local authorities – the point at which so many organisations meet.</p> <p>Town planners working with developers can help transform our towns and cities to ensure that – instead of being at the mercy of extreme weather events, anticipating them is built into their development – potentially saving – and generating – millions of pounds in the process.</p> <p>East Riding Council, for example, is responsible for one of the most beautiful and one of the fastest eroding coastlines in North West Europe.</p> <p>It is one of the regions key environmental assets and its holiday parks are an important tourist destination – preserving it is vital part of the local economy.</p> <p>So the Council has developed a system of ‘rollback’ – physically moving the parks away from the eroding coastline while improving the quality of the local environment.</p> <p>It’s a concept that has since been extended to houses and farms – a planning response to reducing the impact of coastal erosion which can be used in other coastal areas at risk.</p> <p>The significance of the role that local authorities can play in planning everything from regenerating city centres to authorising new developments cannot be underestimated.</p> <p>Because it is so often at the local level that intervention can make real differences to our communities, and here that supporting a Big Society approach can often help the most.</p> <p>There are 18,000 charities in England and Wales alone which exist to help and protect the environment – the vast majority of which are volunteer-based organisations operating locally.</p> <p>We want to do everything we can to encourage them to include adaptation in their work – raising awareness about the use of semi-permeable membranes rather than paving to clearing up potential green spaces to help absorb excess rainfall and cool our towns.</p> <p>And, at the most local level of them all, we want individual households to make the most of the opportunities offered by the Green Deal – every one of the UK’s 26 million homes can benefit from it in one way or another and help reduce greenhouse gasses in the process.</p> <p>From better insulation in walls and lofts to installing solar panels on roofs this is also yet another opportunity in-waiting for businesses looking to supply a new and captive market.</p> <p>Climate change and the way we respond to it is one of the biggest challenges of our time.</p> <p>Adapting to it may also offer some of its biggest opportunities.</p> <p>In 17 months time we will deliver the UK’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment – a world first and one in which the ASC will have a major role to play in providing expert scrutiny</p> <p>It will provide us with an even better understanding of both the risks and the costs of climate change to our society, infrastructure and economy, and help us to plan for the future.</p> <p>The Adaptation Sub-Committee will continue to play its important role in independently and transparently assessing how the country is gearing up to cope with a climate which may be considerably different.</p> <p>But we must – all of us – take steps now to recognise the problem, analyse the risk and plan ahead.</p> <p>There is much more to be done. But the solution is in the hands of us all – as businesses, citizens and consumers.</p> <p>Together we must rise to the challenge – minimising the risks and seizing the opportunities that lie ahead.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:33:32 Caroline Spelman Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP – Speech: ‘Futureproofing the present – adapting to the reality of climate change’ 2010-09-16 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Firstly, welcome to you all. The UK is delighted to be hosting this event, and we’re delighted to see so many nations represented here, and so many manufacturers.</p> <p>Climate change is one of the gravest threats we face today. It’s a challenge we can only meet by working together globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>It’s a challenge that also presents opportunities. And exploiting these opportunities is necessary – for economic recovery and sustainable, long-term growth.</p> <p>Six years ago, the global carbon market was virtually non–existent. Last year, World Bank estimates put that market at over $140 billion.</p> <p>The need for more sustainable and energy efficient products is urgent.</p> <p>The International Energy Agency has projected that energy efficiency improvements will make the single largest contribution to the goal of halving global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050.</p> <p>So designers, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers all have a vital role.</p> <p>And minimum efficiency standards are a vital tool in improving product efficiency and building a green, low carbon economy.</p> <p>Within the EU single market, these standards are set through the Ecodesign Directive. Standards for household and commercial lighting, televisions, set-top boxes, fridges and freezers, industrial motors and on limiting stand-by power consumption have already been set. We estimate that by 2020 these standards will be saving around seven million metric tonnes of CO2 each year; and delivering around £850 million of savings, mostly on consumers’ and business’ energy bills.</p> <p>Once standards are set for other products, and labelling has been developed for white goods and televisions, there will be even more savings to be made.</p> <p>But in order to be certain these benefits will be realised, we need ways of ensuring that products do actually comply with the standards.</p> <p>In the UK, a product-testing exercise carried out for my Department last year found that the rate of non-compliance with existing energy efficiency regulations was at least 15% – and for some products was 25% or higher. This rate of non-compliance could risk as much as a quarter of the projected benefits of the standards put in place.</p> <p>And research in other countries has uncovered similar scenarios.</p> <p>And this is not acceptable, to consumers, or businesses.</p> <p>Consumers who are choosing more efficient products – to either save money or to reduce their emissions or both – deserve to be 100% sure that the product they are buying delivers the standard it promises.</p> <p>Businesses – whether they be manufacturers, retailers or importers – need to be sure they are competing in a fair market and that others are not gaining an advantage by selling cheaper, sub-standard products. Businesses that operate fairly must be protected.</p> <p>The UK Government does not believe that the heavy-handed imposing of rules and regulations from above is the best way of changing people’s behaviour. Instead we want to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves.</p> <p>Underpinning all of our work on compliance is a dedication to awareness-raising and effective communication between regulators and business.</p> <p>We are also committed to risk-based enforcement, that is, to focus our enforcement activities on those most likely to merit them, and not burden fairly operating businesses unnecessarily.</p> <p>We believe that most businesses want to comply and the focus is very much on helping business to achieve this compliance.</p> <p>To give you an example: a recent exercise was conducted by our enforcement body, the National Measurement Office, to evaluate the energy efficiency claims made on lamps available through major high street distributors.</p> <p>The results showed that around 5% of checked lamps were mislabelled. But the reasons for this mislabelling were easy to resolve. In some cases the energy classes had been wrongly calculated, and in others the wrong label was accidentally put on the product.</p> <p>When informed of the findings by the National Measurement Office, all the companies involved readily agreed to fix the mistakes and re-label the products to bring them back into compliance.</p> <p>We are continuing to look at how we can further improve our compliance regime. Of course there is still a need for penalties – for frequent offenders or for those who deliberately break the rules.</p> <p>For example, only a few weeks ago our Trading Standards Officers in Northampton successfully prosecuted an importer of fridges which were labelled with an A+ energy rating but when three were tested were E, F and E respectively. Their energy consumption was, on average, some 77% higher than shown on the label. This would represent a significant difference on a consumer’s electricity bill.</p> <p>We are currently considering the responses to a public consultation on the possible introduction of a new range of civil sanctions, which include enforcement notices, and, for the worst cases, monetary penalties, which reflect the harm caused to consumers and the environment.</p> <p>I’ve been talking about the UK’s national work. In today’s marketplace products are both manufactured and traded globally. Therefore only collaboration on a global scale can ensure that we gain the benefits from more efficient products and equipment.</p> <p>And the fact that so many of you have travelled here today proves that this is widely understood.</p> <p>Collaborating internationally not only avoids the wasted cost of duplicated activity but ensures there are no safe havens for suppliers of non-compliant products.</p> <p>The UK Government will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling international climate change. And this includes setting appropriate energy performance standards for key products.</p> <p>The EU already has an official forum for sharing compliance knowledge and expertise, and we are working together on strengthening our compliance regimes.</p> <p>The UK currently chairs this Administrative Cooperative Group – ADCO – for market surveillance of Ecodesign. The ADCO is attended by the 30 national enforcement authorities of the EU and European Economic Area.</p> <p>Enforcement authorities are using this forum to agree the enforcement of the regulations, to share best practice and to exchange intelligence on products, to share plans for product testing and to work towards a proposal for a joint testing programme which will make good use of limited resources. All of this helps align and strengthen market surveillance across the EU.</p> <p>I would say that the ADCO’s experiences offer a good example of what could be achieved internationally, not only at EU level.</p> <p>So what is there to do at global level to improve monitoring, verification and enforcement?</p> <p>I would like us to share best practice on how to ensure compliance and so deliver greater benefits from energy efficiency standards. I would also like to see greater sharing of intelligence between enforcement agencies on products that are globally traded and do not meet the claims they make.</p> <p>I would hope that, by the end of this conference, we will be much closer to a shared understanding of the successes and challenges ahead. I look forward to hearing the conclusions reached this week, and to the future actions and improvements set in motion by this conference.</p> 2011-03-04 21:33:49 Lord Henley Lord Henley – International Energy Agency’s conference “Saving more energy through compliance” – 14 September 2010 2010-09-14 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>First, thank you for the invitation to be here today, and discuss this important issue.</p> <p>There’s nothing new about the weather affecting business; nor about business protecting itself against weather risks. Farmers were insuring themselves against hail damaging their crops two hundred years ago.</p> <p>But, as we all here know, we’re encountering a step change in weather risk. Climate change, and the extreme weather events it brings, are happening, not just overseas, for example in Pakistan recently, but here and now – as I saw on my recent trip to Cumbria. Changing weather patterns and heavy rainfall are having a huge impact on the Lake District – on the natural environment, and on communities.</p> <p>The journey to climate resilience is an urgent one. But one that not enough people have set out on – particularly in the private sector.</p> <p>A recent MORI poll funded by my department shows that most companies are not prepared for the impacts of climate change.</p> <p>Three quarters of the businesses surveyed were concerned about climate change impacts, and one in three had recently been affected by extreme weather.</p> <p>But less than a quarter had started to act on their concerns.</p> <p>If the business sector isn’t climate change resilient, then neither is our economy. So I welcome the CBI’s leadership on business resilience. I know your climate change team has been working very constructively with Defra people. We value the relationship greatly.</p> <p>And I welcome today’s report, which is timely, insightful – and chimes with the coalition government’s thinking.</p> <p>The survey I just mentioned shows that businesses generally perceive a changing climate to be a threat rather than an opportunity.</p> <p>We’ve got to remember, it’s both.</p> <p>The UK already leads the way in climate resilience science and technology.</p> <p>And our strong finance and insurance sectors will be critical in driving adaptation forwards, while at the same time growing business and feeding the economy.</p> <p>Another recent Defra-funded report – by GHK consultancy – found that UK businesses are well-placed to exploit opportunities across the board: in construction and retro-fitting, in water management, in tourism, in transport, and in food production.</p> <p>So the challenge for business is two-fold – build resilience, and get first mover advantage in new markets, here and overseas.</p> <p>And we need businesses to rise to both these challenges if we are to build a globally competitive, green and thriving economy for the UK.</p> <p>To meet these challenges, to embark upon both these journeys, businesses must have easy access to all the scientific evidence and information that’s available. Again the UK is one of the world’s leaders in climate science. And today’s report raises good questions about how this science can be best presented, used and acted upon by businesses in the future.</p> <p>We’re already working to get a better understanding of this business need, and how we might build on the work of the UK Climate Impacts Project. I’d be grateful to hear more of your thinking on this today.</p> <p>The report asks for Government to make access to other types of information easier too – particularly around risk to infrastructure. We must all share information wherever we can. I understand very well the concerns about commercially sensitive information, but I think it’s essential that businesses become more open about how they are approaching adaptation. The examples cited in the report show how much there is to learn from the businesses that are innovating and leading the way on climate resilience. So I applaud this leadership and innovation; and I urge more openness.</p> <p>Because, one way or another, climate change is going to affect every organisation, every business, every community and every individual in this country. If we are to thrive economically and as a society, we must all adapt.</p> <p>And on that journey to resilience, we need information, innovation and leadership.</p> <p>I look forward to our discussion.</p> <ul> <li> <a title="opens new window" href="" target="_blank">CBI report:  Whatever the weather – Managing the risks from a changing climate</a> (3.5 MB, PDF)</li> </ul> 2011-03-04 21:34:06 Lord Henley Lord Henley speech – CBI roundtable on climate change adaptation – 13 September 2010 2010-09-13 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>We’re now seven months into one of the driest spells this country has ever seen.</p> <p>The North West of the country currently has a drought order in place. The first one in fourteen years.</p> <p>Just 9 short months after the region suffered one of the worst floods in living memory.<br> This country’s weather really is horrendously unpredictable.</p> <p>It certainly highlights how challenging your job is in planning and preparing for this type of thing.<br> But it also brings into sharp focus the fact that although the new Flood and Water Management Act received royal assent back in April it may appear to the outside world that not a great deal has happened since.</p> <p>Well I hope that today to bring you up to speed on what’s been going on behind the scenes.<br> It’s important we do this.</p> <p>After all you’re the people who are on the front line and who will receive most of the new responsibilities within the Act.</p> <p>You’re the people with the local knowledge and understanding.</p> <p>Facts that were recognised by Sir Michael Pitt in his review following the 2007 summer floods and facts that I happen to agree with.</p> <p>From the off I think it’s important to recognise that many of you have already made significant progress in developing your response plans for future flood events.</p> <p>For example, local resilience forums have completed nearly three quarters of the total number of the flood plans we need. And some, such as Cumbria, Avon and Somerset and Greater Manchester have made great strides in testing and exercising those plans.</p> <p>But that still doesn’t detract from the fact that you need us to tell you where we’re coming from so you can progress further.</p> <p>The Act highlighted who is responsible for what when it comes to planning, managing and responding to flood risks.</p> <p>As you know the Environment Agency have responsibility for a national strategy and will continue their existing work managing risk from main rivers and the sea.</p> <p>The new Lead Local Flood Authorities will have a leadership role, working with others to deal with local risks.</p> <p>We now need to move quickly to get things up and running.</p> <p>We need to make sure we don’t over regulate. We already have new arrangements in place to scrutinise all legislation.</p> <p>I’d like to see the main responsibilities for local authorities start in the spring next year – including work on local strategies. This will coincide with the start of the new spending review period and I am conscious that you will need the funding to be able to do the job.</p> <p>It’s great to hear that you will be discussing possible approaches to financing this afternoon.<br> To help you prepare for the new roles we’re going to start some parts of the Act this autumn.<br> I’m determined that this approach won’t involve any unnecessary rules and regulations.</p> <p>I hope we can take a more measured approach and trust you to work with other partners to get on with the job.</p> <p>As I said before you know better than us what’s needed on the ground in your area.<br> Although obviously we will consider the need for new legislation within the Water White Paper that<br> I announced earlier this month.</p> <p>It is important that you don’t wait until the spring to get going. To help you I’m pleased to announce that we’re making available a further two million pounds to help local authorities put together risk assessments this year. These in turn will feed into your local strategies next year.</p> <p>On the back of this I’d very much welcome your views and comments on these plans and proposals. Both now and during consultations later on.</p> <p>All of which will help our understanding of what needs to be done.</p> <p>As well as highlighting anything that we might have missed.</p> <p>The Act also gives local authorities new responsibilities for approving Sustainable Drainage Systems, known as SUDS.</p> <p>We’re looking to launch a consultation on the SuDS provisions stemming from the Act later this year.</p> <p>This will include establishing some national standards which can be applied by local authorities and developers to suit local conditions.</p> <p>At the moment we’re looking at phasing things in. This will give you and developers the time to familiarise yourselves with the approval and adoption processes.</p> <p>Looking at the current timelines it looks like the new approval system could be in place from October next year at the earliest – but it might be better to delay this, for example until April 2012.</p> <p>So it’s important that we continue to talk to you over the coming weeks and months to make sure everyone’s happy with what’s being proposed.</p> <p>If any of you have any thoughts around this it would be good to hear from you in the Q&amp;A session after this speech.</p> <p>If you need a bit more time feel free to write or email the department.</p> <p>Alternatively please get in touch with us during the consultation process later this year.<br> It would be good to hear from those of you who have already started work with developers on promoting and implementing sustainable drainage systems. I’d also encourage you to talk to as many developers about them now during any ongoing planning pre-application discussions.</p> <p>I understand the likes of the Cambridge Housing Society have already used some of these techniques in a small project in Lamb Drove Cambridgeshire.</p> <p>They used permeable paving, detention basins and even a green roof to help reduce water run-off from the 35 affordable homes built on one hectare site.</p> <p>Whatever position you are in with regard to this work I think these proposals do highlight the need for you to build skills and knowledge in workforce to better understand flood risk management.<br> I’m pleased to say that we’re publishing a draft strategy today that will help your teams to do just that.</p> <p>It’s basically a 9 month action plan that includes training courses for new and existing staff. It also helps you exchange information with each other and work to identify what tools and information might best be provided centrally.</p> <p>We’ve already been working with the Environment Agency in getting local authority staff trained up. 22 trainees are just completing the first year of their Foundation Degree.<br> Another 25 are due to start in September.</p> <p>As well as these new staff, expertise is available from existing organisations such as Internal Drainage Boards.</p> <p>Whenever I hear board members talk about IDBs they do so in hushed tones.</p> <p>It’s clear they take their responsibilities very seriously.</p> <p>From a personal point of view I see IDBs as a good example of what the Prime Minister wants to see happen around the Big Society.</p> <p>All the IDB members give their time, their local know-how and their skill, free of charge all for the benefit of wider society.</p> <p>They will certainly have a key role to play in the future in supporting the new Lead Local Flood Authorities.</p> <p>However with all this talk of amalgamation there is some uncertainty over how they will be set up in the years ahead.</p> <p>I think it’s fair to say that an IDB representing a whole sub catchment area does have a certain appeal. Their size and scale would strengthen their position at a local level. It also has potential benefits in terms of efficiency and governance.</p> <p>That said I don’t think amalgamation on sub catchment boundaries works every time. It could in some cases dilute their influence locally.</p> <p>A flexible approach is needed. I’ve therefore asked officials to look at alternatives.</p> <p>Something else we’re looking to change is the ownership of private sewers.</p> <p>Many property owners happily pay their annual sewerage bill and think that once the drain or sewer passes beyond their property boundary it is the responsibility of the Sewerage Company. Few realise that they may well be liable, or jointly liable with their neighbours, for the maintenance of the pipes beyond their boundary. There’s pretty much universal agreement that this is unfair and leads to poor maintenance.</p> <p>The Pitt Review welcomed proposals that ownership should be transferred to water companies, to help better manage the wider sewerage network.</p> <p>With that in mind I hope to consult later this summer on a set of regulations to provide for private sewers transfer with a view to this taking place from 2011.</p> <p>Finally I’d like to return to the subject of flooding and talk to you about the launch of the National Flood Emergency Framework.</p> <p>Unfortunately on occasions no amount planning or risk management can prevent a flood from occurring.</p> <p>When this happens we need to be ready to deal with it.<br> We know that when called upon our emergency services, local authorities and the affected communities all do a fantastic job.</p> <p>But it was one of Sir Michael Pitt’s interim recommendations that we should have a National Flood Emergency Framework to ensure a common point of reference.</p> <p>Like Sir Michael, I want to make sure that everyone involved fully understands their roles and responsibilities in response to an emergency.</p> <p>So today we are publishing the first version of the National Flood Emergency Framework.</p> <p>It brings together information, guidance and key policies and will act as a reference point for anyone involved in emergency planning.</p> <p>As such it will need to be updated regularly to reflect changes in areas such as flood warning codes, flood rescue co-ordination, public flood forecasts, and reservoirs legislation.</p> <p>So rather than publish frequent revisions, we plan to convert the framework into a web-based tool as soon as we can.</p> <p>The Framework will also provide the basis for Exercise Watermark, which I know many Local Resilience Forums are participating in.</p> <p>So a lot has been happening behind the scenes. All of you are now up to speed.</p> <p>But there is still a lot to be done over the coming weeks and months.</p> <p>We are living in uncertain times.</p> <p>But there are things we can all do to better protect ourselves against flood risk and prepare ourselves for the future.</p> <p>We all want to safeguard our homes, businesses and families.</p> <p>We all need to take responsibility in achieving this, and I feel confident that by working together<br> we can tackle the risks we face. It’s a big ask for all of us, but it is necessary for the long term future of our communities.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:34:29 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon speech – Local Government Flood Forum Conference – 29th July 2010 2010-07-29 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<h2><strong>‘A world in a grain of sand – creating a new environment policy for England’</strong></h2> <p>Thank you all so much for being here today.</p> <p>I’d like to start by thanking our hosts at Kew for offering us this venue – I can think of few more appropriate places to take this first important step of putting the health of our natural environment at the heart of our economic stability.</p> <p>Because what we are starting today with the launch of our Natural Environmental White Paper discussion document is no less than the creation of a new environment policy for England.</p> <p>This is not to decry the environment policy of previous governments, but for a new Government to seize the day and provide a fresh approach to protecting and enhancing our Natural Environment.</p> <p>As a society, we always mean well when it comes to the environment.</p> <p>But appreciating the aesthetics of our waterways, forests and biodiversity hasn’t saved them from piecemeal degradation over the years.</p> <p>The work of so many of the organisations you represent have made an enormous difference to the quality of life of our entire population – whether they know it or not.</p> <p>The air we breathe today is cleaner than at any time since the Industrial Revolution.</p> <p>The quality of the water in our rivers has improved – and our otters, salmon and river birds are returning.</p> <p>Two thirds of agricultural land in England and the majority of our most spectacular landscapes are part of thriving agri-environmental schemes.</p> <p>But we need to make progress at a faster rate to redress the degradation and loss of species.</p> <p>Too often as a society, when it comes to our natural environment, we take three steps forward and one step back.</p> <p>And I want to nail a particular myth: that economic gain and environmental protection are incompatible, whereas they are actually inseparable.</p> <p>And all too often we decide that looking after our natural environment is something to be left solely to Government.</p> <p>As you will have heard by now, the new Government believes in a Big Society approach to tackling the big problems we face.</p> <p>Protecting our Natural Environment lends itself perfectly to this model because of the abundance of charities and other organisations which populate this field of endeavour.</p> <p>So today, where rebuilding our economies is the number one priority for governments across the world, we need to start making the economic case for our environment at least as strongly as we have been making the aesthetic one.</p> <p>As a nation we are in environmental as well as economic deficit.</p> <p>We need to seize this opportunity to start paying down that debt.</p> <p>The global work done by Pavan Sukhdev and his team shows us that we can actually put a price on the products and services that nature gives us, and see how that value changes over time.</p> <p>And Defra’s own first National Ecosystem Assessment, co-chaired by our Chief Scientist Bob Watson, which will be published in Spring next year will give us a much better idea of the state of the UK’s ecosystems.</p> <p>I want today’s launch to start a sea-change in the way we see our own natural environment.</p> <p>Not just as beautiful landscapes, rivers and fields – but as the natural foundation upon which our economy is built.</p> <p>Our honeybees, butterflies and other pollinators contribute up to £440 million to our economy every year – that’s 13% of the country’s entire income from farming.</p> <p>Touring Kew’s pollinator exhibition, I’ve been reminded of just how diverse these pollinators are.</p> <p>That’s why Defra is providing £2.5 million over the next 5 years as part of a joint initiative to better understand what the threats to our pollinators actually are.</p> <p>Our national parks are not just beautiful – they play a key part in our local economies.</p> <p>English national parks support over 54,000 tourism-related jobs.</p> <p>The Peak District National Park alone contributes £155 million to the region in economic output – 60% of local businesses say business would suffer if the landscape deteriorated.</p> <p>While the way we manage our agricultural land can mitigate climate change, as well as protect biodiversity.</p> <p>Farmers in environmental stewardship schemes, for example, reduce carbon emissions from their farms by 3.5 million metric tonnes a year – that’s a carbon saving of around £1.25 billion every 7 years.</p> <p>Our natural environment, of course, isn’t just restricted to our land and air.</p> <p>The Marine and Coastal Access Act clears the way to the creation of a network of marine conservation zones around the UK that will provide ecosystem services worth up to £1.6 billion every year.</p> <p>And the health and diversity of our natural environment doesn’t just add to the quality of our lives – it can actually extend them.</p> <p>People who live within 500 metres of green space are almost a quarter more likely to be active at recommended levels than those who don’t.</p> <p>And it’s estimated that the NHS could save over £2 billion through increased activity in open green spaces – our own natural health service.</p> <p>Our trees capture carbon and hold soils together, preventing flooding and helping to control our climate.</p> <p>They also add immeasurably to the quality of life in our towns and cities.</p> <p>In some parts of inner London, for example, each tree is calculated to be worth as much as £78,000 in terms of its benefits.</p> <p>I might make the tree surgeons in Smith Square prune with a little more sensitivity next time!</p> <p>That’s why, this year, we’ll be launching a national tree planting campaign to spread trees throughout our high streets and neighbourhoods, providing a greener environment for millions more urban citizens.</p> <p>This will be a job for everyone, bringing charities, local environmental groups and businesses together to make a real and lasting difference to our urban environment – the Big Society in action.</p> <p>It’s that sense of personal responsibility and involvement that’s behind the Natural History Museum’s first ever survey to map the trees growing in our cities launched this month –  the kind of project that just wouldn’t be possible without mass public participation.</p> <p>It joins the RSPB’s launch of the world’s largest wildlife survey earlier this year as a fantastic example of how much we can add to the sum total of our collective knowledge when we all play our part.</p> <p>The benefits we get from our natural environment and the responsibility to protect it cross borders and Departments alike.</p> <p>This is an issue for the Devolved Administrations and the whole of Government too.</p> <p>Our track record of working with the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments through the long-standing UK Biodiversity Partnership has provided a strong model for partnership working across UK government and one I want us to build on further.</p> <p>Defra is at the heart of a Government which aspires to be the greenest ever and we’ll be working closely with others across Whitehall to put the value of nature at the heart of policy making – after all, from health to crime to industry to the welfare of our citizens there is no area of Government on which our natural environment doesn’t have an impact.</p> <p>Even relatively recent history shows what this kind of united approach can achieve – even in the face of serious odds.</p> <p>Twenty years ago, when the last Environment White Paper was published, we were facing another environmental threat – the ever-growing hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.</p> <p>The world recognised that threat in time and took united action to end the production of CFC gasses.</p> <p>Two decades later, we must again unite to deal with the new challenges of a warming planet, the destructions of ecosystems and the consequent loss of biodiversity – a reminder of how important it is to link our understanding of climate change to biodiversity.</p> <p>2010 may be the International Year of Biodiversity, but it is also the year we know that – despite our efforts – we have failed to meet our current global target to significantly reduce the loss of our biodiversity expires.</p> <p>This October, at Nagoya, we must set a new target and we must find meaningful ways to reverse the loss of biodiversity.</p> <p>We must do this for the planet but we must also do this in the cause of enlightened self interest.</p> <p>Because what happens in Madagascar, or India, or China or Brazil doesn’t stay there.</p> <p>We all share a planet and we all share the very real economic costs when its natural protection is damaged.</p> <p>This is true at every level from the micro to the macro, from the likelihood of flooding in Cumbria and Tewkesbury to the threat of an increasingly warming planet on global food security.</p> <p>I am cautiously optimistic.</p> <p>We have already achieved so much.</p> <p>At Copenhagen, there were firm international commitments to reduce deforestation and make this a priority.</p> <p>In June, at the International Whaling Commission in Morocco, when we managed to ensure that the moratorium on whaling stayed.</p> <p>And this month at the European Parliament, which formally voted to adopt the Due Diligence Regulation – closing the door firmly in the face of illegal timber entering EU markets.</p> <p>Both at home and abroad, the direction we are travelling in is the right one.</p> <p>But our pace is too slow – unless we prioritise our natural assets we risk watching our hoped-for destination disappear before we can reach it.</p> <p>Our natural environment is incredibly generous – it provides us with goods and services worth trillions of pounds at no cost.</p> <p>All it asks in return is that we allow it the ability to function.</p> <p>If we degrade it to the point that its ability to mitigate the effects of climate change, purify our air and water, and keep us healthy is lost, there will be a heavy price to pay.</p> <p>And our children and their children will be the ones to pay it.</p> <p>We must be the generation to draw a line in the sand – that says ‘no more’.</p> <p>And then we must begin the task of re-drawing that line, restoring and recapitalising the natural environment on which we depend for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.</p> <p>Your contributions to this discussion paper will be invaluable to that process.</p> <p>I encourage you to take this opportunity to give us the benefit of your knowledge, your expertise and your vision as we shape the future nature of England.</p> <p>Thank you</p> <p>________________________________________________________________________</p> <p>The discussion document aims to encourage debate about how best we protect and enhance our natural environment, and the valuable services we derive from it. We are looking for a wide range of views on all of the issues set out in this document, or any others that you think we have missed. The deadline for responses to this document is 30 October 2010 and details of how to respond can be found via <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p> 2011-03-04 21:34:45 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech – Launch of Environmental White Paper discussion paper – Kew – 26 July 2010 2010-07-26 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you (host). And thank you to all of you for being here today, representing the vital businesses and services we need to transform the lives of our communities tomorrow.</p> <p>Jeremy has already spoken about the context behind today’s meeting – an early and welcome example of our respective Departments’ genuine enthusiasm for working together to turn ideas into action.</p> <p>Because this Government is about inclusion, not exclusion, and our Big Society is big because we recognise everyone is part of it.</p> <p>This has not always been the case for our rural communities.</p> <p>The broadband revolution has passed by too many of our rural villages and remote areas.</p> <p>Many have inconsistent access, or speeds so slow they are all but unusable.</p> <p>Many more, of course, have no access at all.</p> <p>One third of all farmers have no internet access and yet it is increasingly assumed they will file their forms for payment online.</p> <p>While those with access can download information on weather, disease patters and market prices – all essential tools of the industry.</p> <p>Other casualties of the digital divide are the schoolchildren unable to file homework online or undertake online research.</p> <p>People with illness who can’t access online healthcare and explore their options.</p> <p>And those living in isolation, unable to join in the social networking sites that help the rest of us stay in touch with existing friends and reach out to new ones.</p> <p>And in an age where we increasingly shop online for everything from food to fashion, rural communities have been doubly disadvantaged – both as consumers and producers.</p> <p>We all need a vibrant working countryside – and not just those of us that live there – rolling out superfast broadband is probably the single most important thing we can do to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities and businesses.</p> <p>Broadband for business will help more women in rural areas gain employment and help those who either are, or want to be, self-employed – creating new green jobs for those working from home.</p> <p>Providing universal access to broadband is the Big Society in practice.</p> <p>Digital access will bring environmental benefits too, reducing  travel, bringing down the carbon footprints in town and countryside, as part of our new greener economy.</p> <p>As the Government’s rural champion, today I want us all to take the first concrete steps in turning our vision of a rural broadband revolution into reality.</p> <p>To roll out a broadband service level of at least 2Megabits to those parts of the country still without basic access.</p> <p>To take the three superfast broadband pilots which currently exist only on paper and make them happen.</p> <p>And to open up and co-ordinate our existing infrastructure to bring down the costs of laying new fibre, stimulating investment in next generation networks – so that superfast broadband can be rolled out to urban and rural areas in parallel.</p> <p>Your views on how we can do this are going to be invaluable.</p> <p>This Government is committed to supporting you as you enter this market, providing real incentives for economic growth and innovation.</p> <p>In these tough financial times, there are huge opportunities here for those who grasp them, be they business providers or community projects.</p> <p>And both commercial and community providers are already coming up with innovative solutions to geographical problems.</p> <p>Business providers like Virgin Media, who earlier this year ran a pilot in Berkshire using telegraph poles to deliver 50Mbps broadband to an isolated village.</p> <p>The GP’s surgery in Northumberland which provides access to patients.</p> <p>The village in Kent where the local council, local businesses and BT clubbed together to get the best possible access for their community.</p> <p>And community providers like the Cybermoor Community network in Cumbria, using contributions from many sources, including subscriptions, to lay cable and bring vital broadband access to isolated businesses and households.</p> <p>More than ever, our jobs, public services and our relationships with the wider world rely on digital technology.</p> <p>I in 5 people live in a rural community.</p> <p>They are home to more than 1 million businesses, employing over 5.5 million people.</p> <p>For too long, too many households and businesses in the countryside have been frozen out of the opportunities this technology provides.</p> <p>It is time to bring our rural communities in from the cold.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:35:00 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech at Broadband Delivery UK Industry Day – ‘Broadband – delivering the rural revolution’ – 15 July 2010 2010-07-15 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you Nick, and thank you for inviting me here today.</p> <p>Food is a incredibly complex subject – both psychologically and physiologically.</p> <p>The way it grown, traded and consumed has a direct impact on our environment, our economies and our health.</p> <p>And, as Dalton (Philips) points out in the first chapter of <em>Feeding Britain, </em>cost and supply are increasingly affecting food security abroad and food choices here at home.</p> <p>Food, in fact, lies at the centre of a very complex web that extends to every aspect of our existence, from the state of our countryside to the length of our lives.</p> <p>That’s why this coalition Government has made it a priority to support British food and farming and encourage sustainable food production.</p> <p>Through the recession and – now – in its difficult aftermath, our farmers have shown personal tenacity and economic resilience.</p> <p>That’s not just good news for the industry, but for all of us.</p> <p>Because food production and procurement is right at the heart of creating the leaner, greener economy we all need now.</p> <p>Of driving down food miles, reducing carbon emissions and helping local economies grow.</p> <p>I’m thinking here of initiatives like the move by catering managers at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre to switch to sourcing fresh ingredients from local producers.</p> <p>90% of the fresh food these hospitals use now comes from the East Midlands.</p> <p>There have been savings all round as a result.</p> <p>Local producers who hovered on the verge of bankruptcy have saved jobs.</p> <p>150,000 food miles have been saved.</p> <p>And I bet the patients of these two hospitals are stronger and healthier for eating seasonal, fresh produce than they would otherwise have been.</p> <p>And that, surely, is the point.</p> <p>Because all too often when we look at this complex subject we forget we are literally what we eat, and that at every stage of our lives, our food choices affect our health.</p> <p>This is pure cradle to grave stuff -  as I’m sure Sue from the Royal College of Midwives and Nadra from the National Care Association can attest.</p> <p>From the impact of pre-natal diets on birth weight to staying healthier for longer in the last stages of our lives, what we eat affects our life chances.</p> <p>But in this country our relationship with food is becoming increasingly dysfunctional.</p> <p>British children are getting fatter at twice the rate of their American counterparts – over a third of British children between five and 13 are already overweight or obese.</p> <p>Diabetes and other diet related illnesses are on the up – across all income bands and ethnicities.</p> <p>The costs to the NHS of dealing with them run into billions.</p> <p>While the costs to individuals and their families are incalculable.</p> <p>My own constituency, Meriden, is in the Borough of Solihull, where differences in life expectancy are almost a decade between wards.</p> <p>This is a modern tragedy.</p> <p>Those lost decades are the grandparental years – when people should be playing with their grandchildren and still be fit enough to enjoy them.</p> <p>And while some of this is clearly due to other factors, the impact of diet on life-expectancy is well established.</p> <p>For too many people, food has gone from being something that sustains life to a silent assassin.</p> <p>We need to rebuild our relationship with food and its purpose.</p> <p>As Andrew Lansley said last week in his first speech on public health, we need to empower people to make the changes that will really make a difference to the nation’s lives.</p> <p>And when we look at effect, we need also to look at cause.</p> <p>We need to recognise the reality behind people’s food choices.</p> <p>We have all – I know I have all too often – stumbled around a supermarket late on a Friday evening after an exhausting week choosing food on automatic pilot.</p> <p>Under these circumstances, we not going to analyse the salt, sugar and fat content of what we buy – particularly when too many labels seem to require a Phd in nutritional chemistry to actually understand.</p> <p>Under these circumstances, too, we are unlikely to suddenly decide to switch to a new and healthier diet.</p> <p>Research last month showed that the major reason people buy what they buy isn’t sell-by dates, brand confidence or even nutrition – it’s habit.</p> <p>An overwhelming 97% of us buy what we buy because it’s what we’ve bought before.</p> <p>In reality, our food choices are made on the same basis as most of the rest of our life choices  – based on what’s available, accessible and affordable – with the possible exception of our spouses.</p> <p>So my key message is ‘ Let’s make it easy for people’.</p> <p>We need to urge the case for honest labelling across the entire spectrum of food products.</p> <p>If someone wants to buy Fairtrade or Red Tractor, it’s made easy for them to do so – that information’s on the label.</p> <p>Whatever choices consumers want to make about the food they buy for themselves and their families should be made equally easy.</p> <p>Low fat, low salt and low sugar labels should mean exactly that and  the presence of saturated fats shouldn’t be disguised in language no one but a chemist can understand.</p> <p>And if someone wants the quality and animal welfare guarantees that come with British meat and dairy we should make that easy too.</p> <p>That’s why my Department, and the Department of Health, will work with industry to introduce clearer food labelling, showing consumers which country the meat and dairy products on our supermarket shelves came from.</p> <p>Manufacturers have steadily been cutting back on high levels of salt, sugar and saturated fats in their products for years. But they need to go further and they need to go faster – they have a responsibility to their consumers too.</p> <p>Retailers have made huge strides in the last few years. Virtually every major supermarket now sells perfectly edible but less than beautiful fruit and veg without the ‘pretty premium’, allowing lower income households to eat more healthily.</p> <p>These are all trends in the right direction – positive steps to rebuild the link between food as something that sustains health and life.</p> <p>It’s a link we all have a particular responsibility to build for the next generation.</p> <p>Programmes like the one run by Morrisons, introducing pupils to growing their own fruit and vegetables.</p> <p>Parents rediscovering the pleasure of cooking and passing these skills on to their children.</p> <p>And work done by Agricultural societies and charities like the RHS to teach children about where their food comes from.</p> <p>Because it is only by reconnecting the <em>purpose</em> of food and its provenance that we can start to rebuild a more balanced relationship between our food, our local economies and our health.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:35:15 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech at the Smith Institute – Feeding Britain 2: What consumers want – ‘From satiety to surfeit – rebalancing our relationship with food.’ – 13 July 2010 2010-07-13 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you Sarah.</p> <p>I am really encouraged both by the vision of HRH the Prince of Wales and the commitment of Mark (Price) in launching this Fund.</p> <p>It is timely and necessary help for a vital part of our society.</p> <p>The food and farming industry is worth £80 billion to this country every year. It employs over 3.5 million people. And what it produces is, literally, the stuff of life itself.</p> <p>Our farmers work around the clock in all seasons and steward many of our most precious landscapes – 75% of our land in England is under agri-environmental schemes  - yet total income from farming actually fell by nearly 7% last year.</p> <p>It’s payback time.</p> <p>Time for business, government and philanthropic organisations such as the Countryside Fund to help our farming sector remain resilient and grow their markets in the difficult economic times ahead.</p> <p>Farming is integral to our countryside – it is there that this revival must take place.</p> <p>Because while a graphic design business can be run from the top of a mountain and a gardening business from a flat in the middle of the city, our farmers are uniquely bound to their land and their locality – all too often we take for granted the way they steward the land for posterity.</p> <p>As the Government’s rural champion, I welcome this Fund’s determination to help reach those parts that others can’t.</p> <p>My own department’s Rural Development Programme for England will bring up to £4 billion of funding to rural communities – to encourage agri-environmental and other land management schemes and help make our agriculture and forestry more competitive.</p> <p>But, as we all know, money is tight and will only get tighter.</p> <p>It is vital that we develop the green jobs that our new green economy needs to thrive.</p> <p>That’s why I particularly welcome this Fund’s focus on helping farmers find market solutions to sustainability and growth – and the sizeable investment  from so many businesses shows their belief in our farmers’ unique selling points of quality, animal welfare and the benefits of locally produced food.</p> <p>Rural communities are at the start of a renaissance in the recognition of their intrinsic economic and environmental value.</p> <p>We must make sure that at every stage they have the infrastructure they need to make the most of the unique opportunities available to them.</p> <p>In this digital age, too many rural areas still have limited access to broadband – one third of our farmers have no access at all.</p> <p>That’s why this Government is committed to working with business and community groups to ensure the roll out of universal Superfast broadband – allowing rural communities to reach out to each other and to urban populations, improving existing businesses and kick starting new ones.</p> <p>One in five of us live in a rural community. They are already home to more than one million businesses and employ over 5.5 million – rolling out Superfast broadband is probably the single most important thing we can do to help our rural communities and businesses thrive and grow.<strong> </strong></p> <p>This Government isn’t about top-down solutions to local problems – local communities know their own needs best and have plenty of ideas about how best to meet them.<strong> </strong></p> <p>That’s why, when it comes to the important local decisions that will affect the quality of life in their local areas, we want to give them back control.</p> <p>Control over decisions about their local post offices, pubs and housing.</p> <p>Getting rid of meaningless and unachievable targets for house building in favour of local people, local charities and local businesses leading the way in providing the right housing in the right places at the right price.</p> <p>Today’s launch really does show that investing in our countryside is an investment in growth, in jobs and prosperity.</p> <p>I wish the Countryside Fund every possible success as it helps grow our rural economies in the years ahead.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:35:30 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech at St James’ Palace, ‘Starting the rural renaissance’ – 22 July 2010 2010-07-22 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Five years on from the first Charting Progress report, Charting Progress 2 provides us with a snapshot of what’s happening in the seas around us. It tells us how far we’ve come towards achieving clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.</p> <p>In our Commentary on Charting Progress 2, published today, we highlight the important UK-wide messages that we think are coming from it. Let me share some of them with you today.</p> <p>We have the good news. Contamination by hazardous substances (such as heavy metals) has reduced in most regions and there are few or no problems relating to radioactivity, eutrophication or algal toxins in seafood. Many estuaries are cleaner and this has increased the diversity and number of fish species.</p> <p>We now have more evidence that the main pressures on the marine environment are damage to and loss of habitat on the seabed from fishing and the presence of physical structures. But we still don’t know enough about the impacts of noise or litter.</p> <p>We know that climate change is having an impact on our seas. Sea levels have risen by 14cm during the last century and surface temperatures have increased by 1° centigrade since the late nineteenth century.</p> <p>We also have the news that although fish stocks have improved, many are still fished unsustainably. While populations of waterbirds such as waders, have improved in most regions, seabird and harbour seal populations give cause for concern in other regions.</p> <p>So what are we going to do about these messages?</p> <p>We’ve long recognised that marine problems don’t stop at lines on maps in the sea. The seas and the many species it supports are no respecters of national boundaries. We need to work closely with our neighbours.</p> <p>Last week the EU Marine Strategy Directive passed through Parliament and into UK law. It requires European Member States to take measures to achieve Good Environmental Status in their seas by 2020; that is only 10 years away. This will provide the driver to reduce pressures on our seas where action is needed.  It promotes an effective approach founded on widely shared goals and international co-operation.<br> Charting Progress 2 will help the UK fulfill its obligations in understanding what ‘Good Environmental Status’ looks like.  We hope to hold this up as an excellent example of the reporting standard for the future.</p> <p>Charting Progress 2 indicates that we’ll have to make tough decisions to meet our needs for energy, raw materials and food, in a biologically diverse and thriving marine environment. Many activities jostle for space in our seas – from renewable energy and aggregate extraction to local shellfisheries and recreation.   There is a very genuine feeling amongst the users of the sea, especially fishermen, that they are being squeezed.</p> <p>Armed with knowledge about the state of our seas, we have the power to change the way we use our marine spaces and resources, for now and for the future. To make better, more informed and long-term decisions on what we want in our seas, when and where. To plan for the longer-term UK priorities like energy and food production.  And to protect and conserve our rich marine environment.</p> <p>I’m  pleased to announce that today we’re launching a consultation on the UK-wide Marine Policy Statement, which will be the decision-making framework for the marine area and will set the strategic direction of our seas.</p> <p>We’re also starting a consultation today; it may sound like consultation overload, but good consultation is vital to getting things right; on a new marine planning system for England. It will be delivered by the Marine Management Organisation and other partners and will give clarity and certainty on decision-making in marine areas around England.</p> <p>Our third consultation, yes another one, also published today, is on a new, more streamlined and transparent licensing system which will regulate marine projects in English waters and beyond. We want a lean, fit for purpose, process. And we need to get it right which will only happen if we listen to people’s views.</p> <p>The new system for marine planning, starting with the Marine Policy Statement, and using Charting Progress 2 regional data, will help us to manage our seas sustainably.</p> <p>The new marine licensing system will unknot a complicated tangle of historic regulation  – some over 50 years old –  and will help us make better, more strategic decisions about what we want in our seas.  And provide the efficient, fair service that people rightly expect from modern Government and modern regulation.</p> <p>These three consultations are steps towards delivering the Marine and Coastal Access Act. I was involved with this in opposition.</p> <p>Our seas have an important role to play in our future. Particularly in our battle with the global change in climate and meeting our energy needs.</p> <p>Last week the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership, which has contributed to Charting Progress 2, published its annual report card. This makes us more aware of the impacts of climate change across UK regional seas and how the most recent (UKCIP09) climate projections can help our understanding of future marine climate change impacts.  The facts on climate change made for animated conversation when I met Ministers of all UK administrations and Ireland last week.</p> <p>We also have a major research programme on ocean acidification with the Natural Environment Research Council and the Department of Energy and Climate Change. And our coastal pathfinder programme is focusing on adaptation to climate change.</p> <p>The sea may actually hold some of the answers to a number of questions around our future energy needs as we move to a greener economy. This transition will throw up lots of opportunities for creating economic growth and jobs, as well as contributing to a cleaner environment.</p> <p>If we’re to get this step change right we’ll need to be innovative. And to do that we need to create the right conditions for innovation to flourish. We’ll need to make sure we have the right approach to regulation and development and research.</p> <p>Globally the environmental market place is already huge and growing. It’s clear the marine environment will have a part to play here. Wind and wave technology will no doubt be essential for our future energy needs.</p> <p>In May, the New Scientist reported research indicating that nearshore waves have 80 to 90% of the usable energy found in offshore waves. This opens up exciting prospects for easier, more economic harvesting of wave energy.</p> <p>We’re going to need to look at projects such as Cornwall’s Wave Hub wave energy testing facility and other novel approaches in thinking about how we manage our seas in the future.</p> <p>Other areas of our work will also contribute to tackling the issues Charting Progress 2 highlights. The network of marine protected areas we’re establishing. The fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy needed to safeguard fish stocks, integrate fisheries management with marine conservation, and encourage a long-term profitable fishing industry – these are fundamentally important. Finding the best ways of using the resources our seas offer is what we are all about. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about these from our panellists.</p> <p>Our approach to the issues in Charting Progress 2 also includes the Natural Environment White Paper. Next week we’ll be launching a programme of engagement to inform the development of the White Paper to be published next spring. It will be important that the White Paper addresses the natural environment both on land and at sea and that it is founded on sound evidence, such as that provided by Charting Progress 2.</p> <p>We need to tackle the gaps in our knowledge identified in Charting Progress 2, such as the impact of underwater noise. But I’m also struck by the fact that every month we seem to discover something new about our seas. Whether it’s the effect of anti-depressant chemicals on shellfish. Yes really, we have prawns on Prozac! Or the invasion of the Henslow crab in the North Sea, which has swum north from the Portuguese coast as the sea temperature rises.</p> <p>What is unchanging though, is how much our seas matter to us. Whether we’re working, travelling or just having fun, the marine environment has an integral part to play in our everyday lives.</p> <p>The data in Charting Progress 2 underline what a valuable resource the sea is. They also underline the fact that we need to adopt an holistic approach to its management that improves business opportunities while at the same time protecting it and the resources in it. As some of you may have seen earlier, the data is easily accessible, even I can access it, it really is something we can all us.</p> <p>I’d like to end by congratulating the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment strategy community on the publication of Charting Progress 2 – the authoritative report on the state of UK seas.</p> <p>The community now reports to the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee – and, on behalf of the Ministers on the Committee, I’d like to thank the scientists around the UK who have put huge amounts of knowledge and expertise into preparing Charting Progress 2 and to scientists nationally and internationally, for peer-reviewing it to ensure it’s the best evidence that’s available for our seas.</p> <p>The sea is a massive resource that belongs to us all. We can all make a contribution, such as by volunteering for beach clean-ups. By working together we can achieve a marine environment that is good for nature. Good for industry and good for everyone.</p> <p>Today’s publication of Charting Progress 2 is another step towards us achieving our long- term goals for our seas and oceans.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:35:46 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon speech – Charting Progress 2 launch, 21 July 2010 2010-07-21 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<h2><strong>First Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium – 13 July 2010</strong></h2> <p><em>[Not checked against delivery]</em></p> <p>Thank you Johan and thank you all for being here today at the very first Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium in this, the first ever International Year of Biodiversity.</p> <p>This is the year our current global target to significantly reduce the loss of our biodiversity expires.</p> <p>It’s the year we finally know that – despite our efforts – this target will not be met.</p> <p>This October at the Biodiversity Summit in Nagoya, Japan, 193 countries will meet to agree a new global framework for biodiversity.</p> <p>This time, we must set a target and we must meet it.</p> <p>Biodiversity, ecosystems and business are inextricably linked.  I was pleased to hear that last night Rio Tinto signed a partnership agreement with the IUCN at which the Chief Executive said ‘Biodiversity is good for business.’</p> <p>We are all increasingly aware of the financial, as well as the environmental, costs we incur when we treat biodiversity simply as acceptable collateral damage.</p> <p>This month, for example, we’ve learned that the cost to the UK of losing bees and other pollinators could be as much as £440 million a year – that’s 13% of the country’s entire income from farming.</p> <p>That’s why Defra is providing £2.5 million over the next 5 years as part of a joint initiative to understand better what the threats to our pollinators actually are.</p> <p>Because knowledge is power – when we know what’s going wrong we will have a better idea of what we must do to put it right.</p> <p>And that kind of knowledge is providing us with a new type of environmental economics – one which explains the real costs to business of biodiversity loss.</p> <p>Earlier today, many of you will have heard from Pavan Sukhdev about the findings of his latest report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).</p> <p>It shows consumers have growing expectations of business when it comes to biodiversity.</p> <p>It shows the unforeseen effects that business practice can have on our environment and ecosystems, making everything from drought to flooding ever more likely.</p> <p>And it shows that the global impact of business on biodiversity and the environment– for good or ill – is both one of the biggest tests and the best opportunities facing industry today.</p> <p>A test because it asks business to accelerate thinking about the real costs of their products and services – the costs to biodiversity, to climate change and the wider environment – at every stage of design and delivery.</p> <p>But it shows huge opportunities to build our greener economy too.</p> <p>Only six short years ago, the global carbon market was virtually non –existent. Last year, World Bank estimates put that market at over $140 billion</p> <p>TEEB shows similar market trends for wider ecosystem services and biodiversity – with opportunities tripling by 2020 and quadrupling beyond that.</p> <p>In the long-term, our natural capital is just as important to our economy as human and financial capital are.</p> <p>The UK worked this out some time ago.</p> <p>We are the first country in the world to be carrying out a national assessment of our ecosystems.</p> <p>It is already showing us the value of the services our ecosystems provide to both society and the economy as they stand now.</p> <p>But ecosystems and biodiversity don’t stand still.</p> <p>By this time next year, the National Ecosystems Assessment will tell us how they may change in the future and how the UK can best respond to these changes.</p> <p>As we learn more about the value of our planet’s natural resource and the real costs of using them, we are coming to recognise that ‘business as usual’ isn’t sustainable.</p> <p>And few of our planet’s natural resources illustrate this quite as clearly as palm oil.</p> <p>It’s used in everything from cosmetics to cakes – at least one in every ten products on our supermarket shelves now contains it.</p> <p>We need palm oil and so do the economies which produce it – Indonesia alone employs 2 million people the industry.</p> <p>In 2000, it was forecast that global demand for this oil would double by 2020.</p> <p>Already, the growth of palm oil plantations is the single greatest cause of permanent forest loss in South East Asia.</p> <p>We know, too, that converting carbon-rich peat land soils to plantations is driving up global greenhouse gas emissions, destroying tropical habitats and threatening entire species.</p> <p>As demand grows, so will these environmental impacts.</p> <p>Despite the best efforts of many – both in industry and amongst NGO’s  – this isn’t currently a sustainable industry.</p> <p>I believe we have a responsibility to work more closely together to help turn it into one that is.</p> <p>It’s a sense of responsibility I know many of you share.</p> <p>A group of the world’s major players in the industry have been meeting here today to discuss how sustainable palm oil can become the norm.</p> <p>So I’m pleased to announce that, starting next month, we will start the process of mapping this country’s consumption of palm oil.</p> <p>Working with businesses, we aim to map the palm oil supply chain to the UK, including public procurement, to find out where we are using sustainable palm oil, what we are using it for and how we are sourcing it.</p> <p>Working with companies and NGOs, we aim to use our findings to produce a plan to help shift Britain’s sourcing of palm oil to a sustainable footing.</p> <p>This is just one example of how the choices of manufacturers and retailers here at home can play their part in halting the loss of biodiversity thousands of miles away.</p> <p>Deforestation is another.</p> <p>While Copenhagen didn’t achieve the legally binding agreement so many of us hoped for, we did achieve firm commitments to reduce deforestation.</p> <p>And not a moment before time.</p> <p>The issue of deforestation has become critical.</p> <p>Forests are home to untold species of plants and animals.</p> <p>Every single one of these has a role.</p> <p>With each extinction through the loss of habitat the overall structure of our ecosystems and our environment grows weaker.</p> <p>And our economies suffer too.</p> <p>The global cost of just one year’s worth of deforestation is estimated at between $2 and $5 trillion.</p> <p>That’s the equivalent of two financial crashes every single year.</p> <p>These are environmental and economic prices we – literally -cannot keep paying.</p> <p>In response, the Copenhagen Accord confirmed that the U N programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – rather more snappily known as REDD+ – was a priority.</p> <p>The UK, together with Japan, Australia, France, Norway and the US agreed to fund $3.5 billion for REDD+  over the next three years. The UK will be putting in £300 million of this.</p> <p>And subsequent Ministerial meetings in Paris and Oslo this year created a REDD+ partnership of 60 countries to co-ordinate action to build the governance needed to deliver REDD+ in countries with priority forests.</p> <p>That level of co-operation and commitment to international action is really encouraging.</p> <p>But REDD+ will only succeed if developed countries do their bit at home, too.</p> <p>Particularly in consumer Europe, where our choices as buyers of timber have a disproportionate impact on the emerging economies and fragile ecosystems of Asia, Africa and South America.</p> <p>Illegal logging costs up to $15 billion in lost revenue every year – most of this in developing countries who can afford it the least.</p> <p>That’s why tackling the illegal timber trade is as much a priority for this Government, as it was for the last.</p> <p>The UK’s responsible timber trade has led the way in promoting legal and sustainable timber.</p> <p>It’s leadership which has paid off.</p> <p>Last week, the European Parliament formally voted to adopt the Due Diligence Regulation – which will shut the door firmly in the face of illegal timber entering EU markets.</p> <p>All these are incredibly positive steps.</p> <p>We are starting to reverse the damage that our unsustainable production and consumption has caused to the economies, the ecosystems and the biodiversity of other countries, as well as our own.</p> <p>But we can’t stop here.</p> <p>Species extinction rates are up to 1,000 times higher than average over the last few hundred years.</p> <p>The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment told us that 60% of our ecosystems are being degraded or used unsustainably.</p> <p>We are not, if you’ll excuse the pun, anywhere near being out of the woods yet.</p> <p>The choices we make now, as Governments, as businesses, as entrepreneurs, innovators and consumers, will resonate internationally for decades to come.</p> <p>We have to build a leaner, greener economy for the years ahead and the generations to come.</p> <p>We must grow our low carbon industries and take our share of the green markets of the future.</p> <p>But this time, these markets must reflect the environmental costs of our goods and services – the cost in climate change, in the destruction of our ecosystems and in the loss of our biodiversity.</p> <p>We must finally recognise that there are some prices which are just too high to pay.</p> <p>So I will leave you with two thoughts.  Firstly, it is imperative for each business to examine its own supply, to ensure that every step of the way it is guaranteed sustainable, otherwise your supply chain will be at risk.</p> <p>Secondly, the world is going to start pricing natural resources, so if you move into these markets early you will get the first mover advantages that those moving into the carbon market are seeing.</p> <p>So you have a Government not just concerned for the environment, but your bottom line as well.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:36:01 Caroline Spelman Speech by Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP – ‘Biodiversity and the bottom line’. 2010-07-15 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<h2>13th July 2010</h2> <p>Palm oil – something we’ve all used. We’ve been using it for 5,000 years, apparently. We’ve all of us in this room already made use of it several times today, and it’s very likely to be in the food on the table next door. It’s high yielding, it’s versatile, it protects us from diseases, it’s cholesterol free…  It sustains us, and it sustains the economies that produce it. In Indonesia the palm oil industry employs two million people.</p> <p>But there’s a problem. A problem everyone in this room already understands. Palm oil plantations are expanding into natural forests and peatlands. They are the single greatest cause of permanent forest loss in South East Asia. Deforestation accounts for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>Most of you will have heard Pavan Sukdev’s speech earlier today about how to put an economic value on biodiversity and eco-systems. His report for businesses is being launched at this conference. This TEEB report estimates deforestation costs us between 2 and  5 trillion dollars every year in lost services.</p> <p>So the environmental cost of palm oil production also an economic one. While the palm oil industry feeds the economy it also damages it. The costs already outweigh the benefits. And as demand for palm oil grows, in Europe, but also China, India and the rest of the world, the environmental costs will start to threaten our very future. Its sustenance is unsustainable.</p> <p>So how do we retain the benefits and get rid of the costs?  This is the question that needs urgent attention; from all of us.<br> As with other major commodities – fish, and timber, for example  – private sector, public sector and NGOs must work together to turn the situation around, so that all palm oil is produced sustainably; without longterm environmental cost. And this effort needs the commitment and cooperation of the whole supply chain. That’s why this group is so exciting.</p> <p>So I’m very pleased indeed to see all of you here today. Together you represent producers, refiners, importers and traders – from different parts of the world. And you are leaders within your companies, which is really encouraging. The discussions you have here today are an important step towards finding the answers to our question.</p> <p>Of course, there has been progress already.</p> <p>The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, of which you are all members, has been certifying palm oil for nearly two years. And many European companies have committed to all the palm oil they source being certified by 2015 or earlier. In May, the New Britain Palm Oil’s refinery opened in Liverpool, only dealing in certified sustainable palm oil.  Which, along with other means, like ‘book and claim’ and mixed sourcing, will make it much easier for UK and European companies to meet their commitments.</p> <p>While all the producers in this room – Kulim, LonSum, Musim Mas and others – have already had plantations certified by the Roundtable, and many of you are now working with your supply chains on sustainability improvements.<br> But commitments from other major markets in China, India and the US to sourcing sustainable palm are missing at present. And only around 4% of the global supply is currently certified.</p> <p>So more needs to be done, and done quicker. Because the environmental cost of this product is frightening – and the damage too often irreversible.<br> Industry must play its part, and so must government. This month sees the launch of a project my department, Defra, is co-financing with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce; to develop the “business case” for sustainable palm oil in China and proposals on how to encourage the switch. There are big differences in the way Chinese businesses and European businesses operate, so the Chinese rationale for sourcing sustainably will to those in Europe. This project aims to provide the tools appropriate to China’s business culture: to help persuade the world’s largest consumer of palm oil to buy from sustainable sources.</p> <p>In this country the Prime Minister has pledged that this government will be the greenest government ever. It’s not just a promise: it’s an imperative. Many people in the world are already paying the costs of the damage we are doing to our natural environment.  And the damage we continue to inflict presents a grave danger to future generations.</p> <p>The damage must stop. We are absolutely committed to tackling climate change, which includes stopping deforestation and the loss of peatlands. And we are committed to halting and reversing the decline in biodiversity. Neither of these would be possible unless we stop the damaging impacts of the products we consume; and unless we reverse the economic incentives in order to support sustainable production.</p> <p>Which is why we have confirmed the pledges, made at the Copenhagen climate change conference, of £1.5bn from the UK for fast start climate finance through to 2012, of which £300m will be for forests.</p> <p>Which is why we will continue to play a pivotal role in establishing the REDD+ Partnership – a platform for developed and developing countries to reduce deforestation together.</p> <p>Which is why we have already played a pivotal role in the agreement of EU legislation to tackle illegal logging.<br> And which is why we are committed to helping the palm oil industry to become sustainable.</p> <p>So today the Secretary of State, Caroline Spelman, will be announcing in the plenary session that we will start the process of mapping this country’s consumption of palm oil.</p> <p>Working with businesses, we aim to map the palm oil supply chain to the UK, including what the public sector buys, and where from, to find out where we are using palm oil, what we are using it for, how we are sourcing it and how much is produced sustainably.<br> Working with companies like yourselves and with NGOs, we will be using our findings to produce a plan to help shift Britain’s sourcing of palm oil to a sustainable footing.</p> <p>I’m delighted to be able to tell you about this work. And I’m delighted to be opening this meeting. The statement you have been working on for today could be a really powerful springboard for the mainstreaming of sustainable palm oil across supply chains.</p> <p>So I urge you to aim high. Palm oil has been called a miracle product, nature’s gift to us. We must respect the giver, as well as the gift. Together we can create a truly sustainable industry – one that can last for many more thousands of years.</p> 2011-03-04 21:36:16 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon speech – global business and biodiversity conference 2010-07-14 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<h2>13th July 2010</h2> <p>The first written account of society dealing with drinking water comes from ancient Mesopotamia in around 200 BC when public sanitation laws required cisterns and wells to be separated by at least 75 feet from cemeteries, tanneries and slaughterhouses.</p> <p>The Romans were famous for transporting their drinking water via aqueducts to their cities. Nine of these conduits delivered water to ancient Rome. Although the quality of Roman water was poor in comparison to today it was the best quality drinking that humans would use for fourteen centuries. When Rome fell Western civilisation fell too.</p> <p>It was only in the late 1800s when the science of microbiology and chemistry began to develop that the link was made between pathogens in the water supply and the spread of human disease.</p> <p>Many people in today’s world continue to struggle to find clean water.</p> <p>Here in Britain we are lucky.</p> <p>We enjoy a high quality, safe and reliable water supply to our homes and businesses.</p> <p>I’m keen to see this continue and offer my support to a water industry that secures a reliable water supply for all our needs today and in the future.</p> <p>At the same time helping maintain robust protection for our environment.</p> <p>It’s clear this resource will need to be increasingly cherished.</p> <p>Particularly set against the backdrop of an increasing population and ever changing climate.</p> <p>As well as changing lifestyles and energy consumption.</p> <p>All will contribute to a landscape that will require us  to manage our water supply more efficiently in the future.</p> <p>It won’t just be about getting through a long dry summer or a few months of torrential rain every other winter.</p> <p>It will be about long term water management policy.</p> <p>It will be about effective and sustainable management of demand.</p> <p>It will be about innovative improvements in water efficiency and influencing behavioural change.</p> <p>All of which will help reduce inadvertent water wastage and have little or no impact on our quality of life.</p> <p>We have been facing exceptional circumstances with the driest start to the year in England and Wales for 80 years.<br> The North West, is currently affected by drought conditions.</p> <p>I’m confident we have a robust framework in place for dealing with this type of situation.</p> <p>All of which acts as a backdrop to the need for reform of the water sector.</p> <p>The Cave Review – is integral to this process.</p> <p>Focussing on the competition and merger regimes and increasing the innovative capacity of the sector.</p> <p>We are considering Cave’s recommendations. Implementing these changes would bring new opportunities, for example  enabling large businesses and other customers to switch supplier to seek better prices and customer service.</p> <p>And in response water companies would need to look to drive down inefficiencies and innovate.</p> <p>It’s a valuable report.</p> <p>I hope it will help us develop proposals for reform which will  produce greater efficiencies within the industry.</p> <p>I hope it will help deliver improved services for all.</p> <p>And I mean all.</p> <p>It’s important everyone can afford to have access to a reliable water supply.</p> <p>The Walker Review highlighted the fact that there are no easy answers to how water should be paid for.</p> <p>But clearly the bottom line is the protection of those on low incomes.</p> <p>This issue is of particular importance to people in the South West of the country.</p> <p>So much so its reaching a political crescendo.</p> <p>One of the ideas discussed by Anna Walker in her report was the suggestion of raising a levy across the rest of the country to help.</p> <p>There’s some pretty big ticket items coming down the track. The Thames Tideway for instance.</p> <p>I want to focus particularly on those who cannot afford to pay.</p> <p>Ofwat are putting together options for the South West.</p> <p>I wouldn’t want to pre-empt their advice.</p> <p>But pressures don’t just exist in the South West.</p> <p>The demand for new homes in the water stressed South East bring different pressures.</p> <p>Pressures that include increased demand for water.</p> <p>Coupled with the need for people to use less water.</p> <p>The contentious issue of metering is one option. It gives customers information about their water use – information is power, and an incentive to reduce it.<br> But increased metering brings its own affordability challenges, and we will carefully consider Anna Walker’s recommendations for tackling these.</p> <p>Long term management of water is not just important for us it’s also important for the natural environment.</p> <p>Here we’ve made a good deal of progress</p> <p>Our rivers are cleaner. As are our bathing waters. And our beaches.</p> <p>This has been achieved through winning the battle with point source pollution.</p> <p>But diffuse pollution is still an issue.</p> <p>The Water Framework Directive makes it an even more urgent challenge to address.</p> <p>It sets ambitious targets for improvements in water quality over the coming years.</p> <p>From 2012 we estimate the additional future costs of meeting WFD will be £30-50 million each year.</p> <p>Who will meet these costs? The majority of the cost in the first planning round of the Water Framework Directive falls on water companies.</p> <p>We need to look for new ways to tackle water pollution at source.</p> <p>There are excellent local examples of what can be done to fight this problem.</p> <p>United Utilities own an important agricultural area of moorland in the North West</p> <p>A vital water catchment area because of its ability to store rainwater.</p> <p>An area that also had problems with soil erosion, and run-off from farming.</p> <p>United Utilities developed the Sustainable Catchment and Management Project with local farmers, land managers and the RSPB.</p> <p>SCaMP, as it is affectionately known, has provided funding to improve the way famers manage the land through simple measures like restoring bogs, peat and woodland habitats.</p> <p>This sort of approach can be effective at reducing water treatment costs and is the type of thing I want to see become synonymous with good practice in the farming sector.</p> <p>Because access to a reliable clean water supply underpins our economy.</p> <p>As a new Government we see this as a vital issue too.</p> <p>We’re committed to producing a Water White Paper.</p> <p>It’s the right time to do it.</p> <p>It’s now twenty years after privatisation of the industry.</p> <p>It gives us an opportunity to focus on the future challenges.</p> <p>It provides a steer for the industry and potential investors.</p> <p>It works in tandem with our other commitments to the natural environment. Particularly on issues such as water quality and availability.</p> <p>So I’m pleased to announce today our intention to publish this Water White Paper in early summer next year.</p> <p>It gives us the opportunity to establish a step change in the way water is used and the way it is valued.</p> <p>It’s clear securing the right change is a joint responsibility. We’ll all benefit if we get it right, we’ll all suffer if we get it wrong.</p> <p>So to that end I plan to keep the lines of communication open through the development of the Water White Paper.</p> <p>As part of this process we will also consult on the issues raised in Anna Walker’s Report this autumn</p> <p>This approach to the water sector will contribute to this Government’s wider goals.</p> <p>To our economic goals – supporting the sector in building a profitable, innovative and competitive industry.</p> <p>To developing strong connections between the industry and its customers.</p> <p>Focussing on social goals with a view to supporting the industry’s wider contribution to the economy.</p> <p>And environmentally we want to see industry make a positive contribution too.</p> <p>So as you can see there’s a lot at stake.</p> <p>The quality of the water we use is paramount to the quality of life we lead.  It’s imperative we secure and maintain this valuable resource. A resource vital not only to the environment and people’s health but to the prosperity of our country.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:36:32 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon speech – Future Water conference at the Royal Geographic Society 2010-07-14 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p><em>[Not checked against delivery]</em></p> <p>It’s a pleasure to be here and applaud this successful initiative. Eco-Schools was launched in this country 15 years ago, and there are now around 15,000 schools in the programme. Of these over 8000 have achieved an award. And over 1000 are flying the Green Flag. </p> <p>Why do we need Eco-Schools?</p> <p>For the same reason we need an eco-Government.</p> <p>Because if we don’t start respecting the natural environment, we will damage it beyond repair.</p> <p>The prime minister has pledged that this government will be the greenest government ever. A big promise – but it’s also an imperative. Everything and everyone is connected by a reliance on natural resources, on nature. We have to understand these connections and work with rather than against the natural world. As we recover from the recession our new economy must be low carbon, resource efficient and environmentally friendly.</p> <p>My department, Defra, is, if you like, the green heart of government. We work on all the topics the Eco-Schools programme promotes, with other government departments, with our partner organisations, and with businesses, local authorities and NGOs.</p> <p>And, just as schools assess their environmental performance, so do government departments. Defra works to ensure that all of government leads by example: reducing our carbon and environmental footprint in the running of our buildings, in our procurement choices, in our use of resources and in our travel.</p> <p>I and my fellow ministers at Defra have been in post for around six weeks now. And we’ve already started work. Waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing this country. We’ve already announced a full review of waste policy, to find the most effective ways of reducing waste, and how to help the waste and recycling sector thrive. And also how waste policies affect local communities and individual households, how to encourage local effort, local innovation, local pride.</p> <p>In the Coalition Programme, Defra is specifically charged with working towards a zero waste economy, encouraging paying people to recycle – and working to reduce littering.</p> <p>Changing behaviour and attitudes is of paramount importance here. If from an early age children are taught to do the right thing then it becomes second nature. There’s even an increased chance they’ll continue with this type of behaviour into adulthood. Who knows they might even show their parents how they can change their behaviour.</p> <p>It’s clear Keep Britain Tidy see the connection here. That’s why they’ve campaigned so hard to improve local environments and reduce litter through the Eco-Schools programme.</p> <p>A high number of Eco-Schools saw the benefits in this approach too. Many chose to tackle litter first. It’s a very visible problem, so it’s easy to see collective behaviour change produce real, tangible results. And those results can inspire the community as a whole.</p> <p>I also want to make litter an early priority. It’s a massive environmental problem. But it has a wider impact too. This type of behaviour is symptomatic of our “throwaway culture”. It’s having a direct effect on how we as a society react and relate to our surroundings. </p> <p>We just have to look at the amount of food litter that blows around the streets of our towns and cities to get an idea of what we are up against. Add this to the health hazards from the rats, foxes and other pests, attracted to the litter and you get an idea of the scale of the problem.</p> <p>And litter is incredibly expensive. The cost of street cleaning is £780 million a year. That’s around £35 pounds for every single household that pays council tax in England. For that we could build three new hospitals, 32 new schools or put another 20,000 constables on the beat. Every single year.</p> <p>And litter is self-perpetuating. What happens to pile of rubbish on a street corner? It grows. Within a day or two, a small collection of drink cans and food wrappers can double. If a place is already dirty and litter-strewn, why bother looking for a bin?</p> <p>Conversely, in a tidy, litter-free area, people will stop and think before they drop something on the ground.</p> <p>Stopping litter is totally dependent on changing individuals’ behaviour. And this is a challenge because, in a litter-strewn area, the individual person thinks, I’m not going to change anything by not dropping this thing on the ground. One person can’t make a difference.</p> <p>The challenge is to get the message through that, yes, one person can. Because if that one person joins with others, a huge difference can be made. Collectively people can stop litter and regain pride in their neighbourhood and community.</p> <p>And this is where Eco-Schools can be so valuable.</p> <p>Children are the generation who need to get it right. If we are getting the message across to children, instigating habits, attitudes and values right from the start, then we are creating a future for the environment, and for them.</p> <p>But Eco-Schools are not just getting messages to children. They are spreading the word much wider. A school is often the heart of a community. The attitudes and behaviours emanating from the school will affect the aesthetic and the atmosphere of its surroundings. A school can be a perpetrator of litter and vandalism, for example – or it can lead the way in tidying up.</p> <p>And what is government’s role on litter? </p> <p>Of course local authorities have their own powers and responsibilities regarding litter, which is as it should be. All local areas are different, and it’s the people who know and work in that area who will come up with the best solutions to its problems.</p> <p>So central government must support local authorities by empowering them. And also by challenging them. By asking the question, “Are you making full use of your existing powers to address the problem?”</p> <p>We also need to challenge business, particularly retail and fast food businesses, to help them contribute by changing the design of their products, packaging and services to reduce their ‘litterability’ – to reduce the possibility of litter from the outset.</p> <p>Fast food litter is a blight that spoils 1 in 4 of our streets, parks and shopping areas. Companies such as McDonalds and Greggs are taking the challenge of fast food litter seriously and targeting money at helping to make it easy for their customers not to drop litter. It would be great to see more businesses of this kind follow their lead.</p> <p>I also want to encourage businesses to support and sponsor the local efforts of others. Again, Eco-Schools provides a leading light. The EDF sponsorship of the energy topic. The HSBC’s staff volunteering project. And the pilot project with Homebase. All partnerships that work for everyone involved, with the common aim of protecting and enhancing the environment. And, very importantly given the public deficit, at no cost to the taxpayer.</p> <p>The litter problem must be solved. At the same time, given the economic climate, we have to question current levels of spend. In the autumn we’ll be reviewing with local authorities and some of our most engaged businesses what has been achieved and how to move forward. I want us all to work together to create a joint approach that is affordable and sustainable, and make a real difference to people’s lives.</p> <p>Litter is one of the many hugely important issues eco-schools are tackling. It is also one of the many hugely important issues government is tackling.</p> <p>Eco-Schools must keep up the good work, growing a new generation of environmentalists, and making connections throughout local communities. As this eco-Government does all it can to, through green businesses and communities, to grow the new green economy.</p> 2011-03-04 21:36:49 Lord Henley Lord Henley's speech at the Eco-Schools Conference – 23 June 2011-06-23 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you John for hosting today’s event and Robbie for your talk and support.  This is an important issue that has cross-government support.</p> <p>In 1986 the whale was indeed saved. A moratorium on commercial whaling was introduced. A seminal moment in the world of conservation. A major environmental victory. Job done.</p> <p>Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Although as a result of the moratorium the number of whales killed fell dramatically the likes of Norway, Iceland and Japan exploited some legal loopholes and continued to hunt. All three ignoring an internationally agreed moratorium on commercial whaling. Whether it is under the guise of lethal research or just blatant commercial whaling their continued hunting of these magnificent creatures is quite irresponsible.</p> <p>To make matters worse on the 22nd April this year the IWC looked to legitimise this hunt by proposing a compromise. Searching for some middle ground between those for hunting and those against. A compromise that allows whales to be hunted – but under a strict control of quotas. I have to say this move does fill me with a sense of déjà vu. I’m sure we have been here before. Save the Whales – Again.</p> <p>This move by the IWC – I believe – will unpick the 1986 moratorium. It will scrap the good work that so many people have fought long and hard to achieve. It will heap more pressure on surviving whale populations who are having to combat a changing climate, marine pollution and incidental capture. It calls into question the international community’s commitment to protecting this planet for the future.</p> <p>But above all this move in effect condones an activity that is inherently, unacceptably and viciously cruel.</p> <p>An activity that remains highly emotive. Has a high media profile. And remains one of Defra’s biggest post bag issues.</p> <p>So for us our objectives in the immediate future are these:<br> We strongly oppose moves to legitimise commercial whaling or introduce any new form of whaling;</p> <p>We support limited whaling operations by indigenous people for subsistence purposes and for local use only;</p> <p>We want to ensure that any whaling has a sound scientific basis and is based on the precautionary principle;</p> <p>We want to ensure that all whaling is for domestic use only and that restrictions on trade in whale products are maintained or strengthened;</p> <p>We want to look for a reduction in the number of whales taken for non-indigenous purposes from current levels phasing out to zero;</p> <p>We want to see an end to what is loosely termed “scientific whaling” outside IWC control;</p> <p>We want to ensure that any additional costs for monitoring, control and enforcement are met by whaling nations;</p> <p>And above all we oppose the reform proposals if they do not meet the key objectives stated above.</p> <p>As you can see this issue is of paramount importance to us – Whale are our environmental conscious.  Most great whale populations have still not recovered to the levels they were pre-exploitation. They are a permanent unaggressive and intelligent reminder of how mankind can totally devastate a species and hunt it to near extinction – with little regard for its welfare or the environmental consequences.</p> <p>So our position is clear. And later this month in Morocco at the annual IWC meeting we will spell it out again. The UK Government is for whales not whaling.</p> 2011-03-04 21:27:36 Richard Benyon Richard Benyon speech at IFAW Parliamentary reception, 9 June 2010 2010-06-09 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p><em>[Check against delivery].</em></p> <p>Thank you Alan, and thank you to everyone I’ve met so far for a warm welcome and a fascinating experience.</p> <p>I’m delighted to have been given the job of ensuring this Government gives the British farming and food industry the consistent backing it needs to become even more resilient and competitive in the years ahead.</p> <p>Farming and food contribute around £86 billion to our economy – you are an absolutely indispensible part of the green economy we are putting at the heart of our economic recovery.</p> <p>Increasing sustainable food production, adapting to – and mitigating climate change, and delivering so many of society’s environmental benefits – you know better than most that business needs to recognise why a healthy natural environment and the efficient use of our natural resources are intrinsically linked to your long term economic success.</p> <p>It is an education to find out more about the enterprise and innovation which characterises this industry – particularly in these challenging economic times.</p> <p>The stands I visited this morning show how very far science has come since my time with the NFU in the ‘80’s.</p> <p>Developments in crop breeding and precision agriculture that might then have been viewed as science fiction are now clearly science fact; a science you are harnessing to meet the challenges of one of the oldest of human activities – growing the food we eat.</p> <p>For thousands of years, science in its widest sense has been key to evolving the way in which we farm. And throughout that evolution, one thing has remained constant – the unbreakable link between the health of our environment and the health of our crops.  We simply will not reap the latter if we don’t protect the former.</p> <p>I have been struck today by one exhibit in particular. It is the stand which shows the wheat yields of 25 years ago, those of last year and those we will need to feed our growing population in 25 years time.</p> <p>The difference between last year’s yield and that needed by 2025 is an arresting reminder of the food production challenges that lie ahead for farmers, and governments, both at home and internationally. We are going to require much, much more from our land in the years ahead. It is crucial that we step up our plans to nurture our soil health, protect the purity of our water and encourage our biodiversity to thrive and grow.</p> <p>Defra’s report on the health of the UK’s biodiversity, which covers this cropping year, was published last month. It shows winners and losers. Many specific species and habitat types are making a comeback. But farmland bird populations are not winning. Their numbers and diversity continue to decline in both the short and – worryingly – the long term.</p> <p>Stewardship of the environment is the key to unlocking biodiversity growth in this country. 75% of the UK’s land is farmed and 68% of English farmland is in an agri-environment scheme. Farmers have always told me that they are the best stewards of the land. You are currently making your Autumn cropping decisions with the help of your advisers and consultants. And many environmental stewardship agreements are coming up for renewal in the next few weeks too. It is now that a crucial window exists for farmers to take the decision to actively commit to the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.</p> <p>Two-thirds of farmers already know about the campaign, thanks in no small part to the efforts of the farming press – here today – and the work of the NFU, the CLA and all the Campaign’s partners in spreading the word.</p> <p>Imagine the impact we could achieve if every one of those farmers translated that awareness into action on their land. Providing fallow plots to create breeding sites for skylarks, linnets and corn bunting. Overwintering stubble to give food and shelter to non-migratory birds, insects and wildflowers. Or creating uncropped, cultivated margins in which rare arable plants can grow and insect-eating birds thrive. The Campaign for the Farmed Environment is an initiative which genuinely has the potential to transform our countryside, protect local ecosystems and increase our native biodiversity.</p> <p>So, for farmers who were waiting to see if a new Government would remain committed to the Campaign, I’m happy to tell you that we very definitely are. With significant savings to find, Defra and its delivery bodies will have to find efficiencies and cut back on things that aren’t priority. But our commitment to making the Campaign for the Farmed Environment a success remains. Your commitment to action is essential to its success.</p> <p>Because protecting our environment is one of the best illustrations of grassroots action – what we call the Big Society. We all have a responsibility to shape the future of that environment. For farmers that may involve renewing your Entry Level Stewardship agreement, or deciding to enter into one for the first time. For advisers and agronomists it might be delivering added value by suggesting the right ELS options – particularly in-field – for every farm they work with. And taking up the new training opportunities which underpin the Campaign.</p> <p>And for every single farmer in the industry – whether in an agri-environmental scheme or not – I hope it will be the decision to carry out at least one, if not more, of the voluntary measures the CFE suggests. This Government wants to give farmers back the freedom and flexibility they need to make the right decisions for their farms.</p> <p>Because if managing the land is your responsibility, then providing you with the right regulatory environment to do so is ours. That means helping you find solutions, not hindering you with red tape. Yesterday, the Agricultural Minister, Jim Paice, announced that we are setting up a Task Force, chaired by Richard Macdonald, specifically to look at ways in which we can reduce the burden of regulation on farmers.</p> <p>Farmers should be trusted to do the right thing – it’s in your interests after all. We want you to be free to demonstrate to all that you are indeed the best stewards of the land. So we will look at moving, and moving swiftly, to a system of risk-based regulation that makes the use, and implementation, of regulation relevant to the realities of farming today.</p> <p>The Task Force will make its first recommendations as early as possible next year.<br> I know that many of these regulations were born in Europe and I know that some of them don’t always make much sense when translated to our shores. That’s why providing a strong and persuasive voice in Europe is critical to ensuring that the knowledge and experience of our farmers is used to get the right regulations for our industry.</p> <p>And, in the two trips I’ve already made to Brussels, I’ve been keen to lay the early foundations for a CAP which delivers value for farmers, consumers, taxpayers and the environment alike. But our international commitment to leading the way on biodiversity goes much further than Europe. It is the subject of a major global conference this Autumn, in Japan.</p> <p>Because the loss of biodiversity, the degradation of the environment and ecosystems and the need to adapt to, and to mitigate, climate change are the global challenges of our age.</p> <p>And how we meet them – at home and abroad – will determine our collective future<br> You, of all industries, know that the heart of farming is the health of the land.<br> And you know, too, that biodiversity is this industry’s canary in the mine when it comes to measuring that health. If it is in trouble, then so are we all.</p> <p>The Campaign for the Farmed Environment gives you the opportunity to do things today to protect the health of your land for the future. I encourage you to grasp that opportunity with both hands.</p> <p>Thank you</p> 2011-03-04 21:27:51 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech at Cereals Show, 'Biodiversity – The canary in the mine', 10 June 2010 2010-06-10 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>I’m delighted to be here to support the excellent work that is being showcased this afternoon.</p> <p>My message is simple:</p> <p>The development of more landscape scale conservation initiatives has to be right. It is a direct response to the fragmentation of habitats and species. It reflects the inter-dependence of the constituent parts of the natural environment. And it will increase the resilience of our wildlife to climate change and the other pressures it faces. That’s why it gives me great pleasure to be with you today to help launch Futurescapes. A programme that is imaginative, ambitious and wide ranging.</p> <p>A programme made all the more significant in this the International Year of Biodiversity – described as the world’s biggest conservation project of 2010. Futurescapes reflects our ambitions for protecting the natural environment.</p> <p>Ambitions that really cannot be overstated in their importance for this Government. As we said in the coalition agreement, we are committed to protecting the environment, species and habitats for future generations. We believe that much more needs to be done to protect biodiversity, and we said specifically in the agreement that we will introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.</p> <p>We should not underestimate the work that needs to be done here. In the UK alone we’ve lost more than 100 species in the last one hundred years. Many that remain could well suffer a similar fate.</p> <p>It’s vital therefore that we improve the way we value and protect our natural resources.</p> <p>The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project led by Pavan Sukhdev is helping us understand these concepts and ideas by placing a value on the natural capital being lost around the world.</p> <p>And here in the UK our National Ecosystem Assessment is underway analysing the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society as a whole. I know many of you in the RSPB and other organisations represented here today are contributing to the Assessment – I’m grateful for your input and support – I understand the final report will be ready for publication in the Spring next year.</p> <p>In addition to its intrinsic value, the natural environment also supports and sustains our economic activity.</p> <p>Reflecting nature’s real value in socio-economic terms helps us improve the ways in which we both harness and protect the benefits it gives us. This is clearly borne out by the work you are doing in the RSPB through your reports – Naturally, at your service and Wellbeing through wildlife. These are both important pieces of work and I congratulate you on producing them.</p> <p>The move towards landscape- scale conservation has arisen in response to the pressures of climate change; growing awareness of the importance of ecosystems and their value; and recognition that despite our efforts the current scale of delivery is insufficient to halt the loss of biodiversity.</p> <p>The nature of the challenge underlines the need for co-operation in order to make the most of the limited resources available to us. One of the strengths of Futurescapes is its commitment to build partnerships with other environmental groups, local communities, the private sector and Government bodies. In doing this I hope that it will learn from the major contributions of others – including the Wildlife Trusts’ Living Landscapes initiative and Natural England’s integrated biodiversity delivery areas.</p> <p>Within the EU we are already committed to a new target ‘to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restore them insofar as feasible’. And last week the European Environment Agency published the facts and figures which will provide the baseline for assessing progress in the EU between 2011 and 2020.</p> <p>On the wider stage we are working hard in preparation for the Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Nagoya, Japan, in October which will bring together up to 193 member states to agree on a framework for tackling global biodiversity loss post-2010, as well as addressing a number of specific changes, such as ‘Climate Change and Biodiversity’ and the TEEB work that I have already referred to. We expect to play a prominent role in the discussions there.</p> <p>Following on from Nagoya one of our key priorities will be to deliver a White Paper on the natural environment. The first of its kind for twenty years. We will be embracing the ecosystems approach and positioning the natural environment at the heart of the Government’s agenda.<br> We will be making an announcement on the White Paper in the coming weeks and consulting widely on it but I believe that landscape scale conservation is bound to be a key component.</p> <p>I think we can all see the different strands of work coming together to protect our natural world. But we can also see the challenges that lie ahead. The challenge of producing safe, quality food for an increasing population. The challenge of meeting tomorrow’s energy needs. And the challenge of a rapidly changing climate.</p> <p>I am optimistic though. The work around Futurescapes and the other initiatives I’ve mentioned show we are moving in the right direction. And together I believe we can overcome whatever tomorrow holds for us.<br> Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:28:09 Lord Henley Lord Henley’s speech at the RSPB Futurescapes launch, 8 June 2010 2010-06-08 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>Thank you all for taking the time to be here, great venue.<br> When my kids were younger, I was glad of this museum to help entertain them in the school holidays, and it did the trick, two are geographers and passionate about climate change.<br> I’m delighted to be in a place that celebrates so obviously a natural world so vividly before us. Not just the dead and the extinct but also the huge variety of living species with which we share this planet.<br> In the first ever International Year of Biodiversity I can think of few more fitting places for a new Secretary of State for the Environment to begin my conversation about the need to protect and promote that variety.<br> Now I’m not going to claim instant expertise.<br> I have been in my new post for just a few hours short of a week.<br> And for the first time in many years – for me at least – that old chestnut about a week being a long time in politics is a cliché no longer.<br> This Monday I was in Brussels, making our case at the Agricultural Council and on Tuesday I attended a very productive bi-lateral meeting with the German agricultural Minister and have had conversations with the French.<br> So I have already started building the foundations for our future work with Europe. But there is still research to review, briefings to digest and hard decisions to be made.<br> All this lies ahead.<br> The announcement this morning by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister clearly outline the will of our new Government to work together to deliver a renewal of society and a reformed politics.<br> It is refreshing to see commitment to running this country based on a model of good will and co-operation instead of bad feeling and attrition.<br> But we are facing unprecedented challenges.<br> We have to talk about the money.<br> While the contents of the outgoing Chief Secretary of the Treasury’s handover note may have been an exaggeration there can be no doubt that the larder looks pretty empty.<br> We can’t, today, give exact details of the savings statement that the Chancellor will make on Monday but finding £6 billion of real savings is going to affect us all.<br> Every single Department is going to have to do more with significantly less.<br> It is the way in which we do this that will be crucial to what, and how successfully, we deliver.<br> At Defra, my whole team has been engaged in this process and taking decisions collectively.<br> We are looking for value. Not price.<br> Because cheap may be cheerful but it doesn’t tend to last.<br> And I want the achievements of my Department to stand the test of time.<br> I want to help make our farming and fishing industries, our water and soil and our biodiversity and ecosystems healthier and stronger than they are today.<br> I have been involved in agriculture and the environment for over 25 years.<br> In that time I’ve learned one thing above all others – the interdependency of our environment, our economy and our society.<br> So we will not be making choices between economic productivity, thriving ecosystems and a healthy environment but choices which create a successful synthesis of all these.<br> We will promote British farming.</p> <p>Reducing unnecessary red tape and regulation and helping farmers get on with what really matters – producing the food we eat.<br> We will help this country protect the environment while adapting to the climate change we know is already happening.<br> And, when it comes to the Big Society, I think safeguarding our environment is a perfect illustration.<br> Even with the best will in the world and a healthy bank balance, the state can neither do it all nor do it best.<br> The third sector – from high profile national charities to local residents’ associations- have a long and valuable track record of protecting our environment, ecosystems and biodiversity.<br> The state can only encourage social responsibility but the third sector can inspire it to action.<br> We all have a stake in the living, breathing environment around us.<br> We all have a responsibility to play our part in protecting it.<br> We will build a strong – and sustainable – green economy.<br> Because we have a real opportunity to create green jobs and green growth – this is our chance to take our share of the green industries of the future.<br> This morning’s announcement provides a more in-depth analysis of Defra’s priorities than I can cover here today.<br> But there are some specific issues I would like to pick out for you.<br> Our manifesto stated our intent to repeal the Hunting Act. And the coalition has committed itself to bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act.<br> Obviously, I am not able to pre-judge today how MP’s will vote.</p> <p>We must address Bovine TB.<br> TB in cattle must be brought under control. As part of a package of measures we will introduce a carefully managed and science – led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent incidents of Bovine TB.<br> Time has been lost and, as someone who was working on the issue at the time of the Krebs report, I know that up to date evidence is all.<br> That report was published in 2003.<br> Seven years later both the incidence and geographical spread of bovine TB has changed.<br> The Krebs proposals may no longer be enough.<br> There are no quick fixes and no magic bullets for this disease.</p> <p>It will take many, many years before it can be eradicated from our herds. And the system that we develop to start that process will be strictly science-led.<br> Now let me turn to our environment and, specifically, to our trees.<br> Because if ever organisms demonstrated their ability to multi-task, it’s trees.<br> They capture carbon and hold soils together, prevent flooding and help control our climate.<br> They also add immeasurably to the quality of life of our towns and cities.<br> In some parts of inner London, for example, each tree is calculated to be worth as much as £78,000 in terms of its benefits.<br> So we will promote a national tree planting campaign to spread trees throughout our high streets and neighbourhoods, providing a greener environment for millions more urban citizens.<br> We have a clear responsibility to protect biodiversity at home.<br> But we also have a responsibility to influence governments internationally – Britain, after all, contains just a tiny fraction of the world’s total biodiversity.<br> So we will work with both the EU and other states to secure a deal in Nagoya this October that delivers clear commitments to action. What I really want to see is for a greater push for biodiversity to be linked to our efforts to tackle climate change.<br> I said at the start that much of my first week had been taken up with building relationships in Europe.<br> And I am increasingly optimistic about the opportunities for meaningful CAP reform.<br> All member states are facing up to tough economic choices and this has focused their minds on reform.<br> I believe we have the opportunity to shape the negotiations to deliver a CAP which reflects our four-pronged approach to good value for farmers, taxpayers, consumers and the environment alike.<br> We are an inclusive Government.<br> We want to help shape a society where no-one is marginalised and where everyone has the right to define their own futures.<br> We know from the Rural Advocate’s report earlier this year that a lack of broadband access is restricting the opportunities which exist for young people who live in the country side.<br> We know, too, this hampers the work of farmers in many areas and isolates many other groups.<br> So we will prioritise the roll-out of broadband to rural neighbourhoods, bringing everyone the same benefits and opportunities of digital technology which so many of us already enjoy.</p> <p>We are what we eat.<br> And what we eat affects the health of our local and national economies as well as our selves.<br> Animal health and welfare standards in this country are probably the highest in the world and many, many people would prefer to choose local if they actually had that choice.</p> <p>The public sector spends around £2 billion on food every year.<br> I want Defra to lead the way in encouraging public procurement to choose food which is local and involves the fewest food miles in its journey from producer to plate.  It’s a step which can save money as well as carbon emissions.<br> One of the places I want to visit is the NHS trust in Nottingham.<br> Catering managers at Nottingham City Hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre have switched to sourcing fresh ingredients from local producers.<br> 90% of the fresh food these hospitals use now comes from the East Midlands.<br> There have been savings all round as a result.<br> Local producers who hovered on the verge of bankruptcy have saved jobs.<br> 150,000 food miles have been saved.<br> And the Trust is saving £2.50 a day per patient – more than £6 million a year.<br> The Trust’s catering manager estimates up to £400 million could be saved each year if this scheme was rolled out across the NHS.<br> This is a prime example of how to span the gulf from individual decision making to the way we run a Government, that wants to be the greenest Government ever.<br> We can’t do it all alone; we need you, your families and friends to join us in delivering the economic recovery and environmental sustainability our country so desperately needs.<br> Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:28:24 Caroline Spelman Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP speech at the Angela Marmont Centre for Biodiversity, 20 May 2010 2010-05-20 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p><em>[Not checked against delivery]</em></p> <p>Thank you and thanks to everyone here. Today I want to explain the new Government’s approach to waste in the years ahead.</p> <p>The Prime Minister fired the starting gun when he said he wanted this to be the greenest government ever.</p> <p>That’s a pretty unequivocal commitment.</p> <p>In the Coalition Programme, Defra is specifically charged with working towards a zero waste economy, encouraging paying people to recycle and working to reduce littering.</p> <p>We’ll also be working with DECC to send a much greater volume of our biodegradable waste through anaerobic digestion – generating renewable energy and bringing down levels of greenhouse gases from landfill.</p> <p>These responsibilities put Defra at the heart of our green government.</p> <p>It’s a task I’m relishing – but I do not underestimate the scale of it for one moment.</p> <p>Due to the sheer hard work of so many organisations – including many of you here today – significant progress has already been made to tackle our waste mountain.</p> <p>The amount of waste sent to landfill has gone down by over a third since 2001.</p> <p>Nationally, households now recycle over 38% of their waste, compared to only 9% ten years ago.</p> <p>We have been slowly moving in the right direction.</p> <p>The direction of travel is right.</p> <p>It’s the pace that’s the problem.</p> <p>We need to go faster and we need to go further.</p> <p>Waste is one of the biggest economic and environmental challenges we face.</p> <p>At every part of the waste hierarchy we want and need to do more.</p> <p>We will also have to do it differently and we all know why.</p> <p>We are a nation which has inherited the biggest peacetime deficit ever.</p> <p>Continuing with current approaches at the current pace is something we cannot afford – either environmentally or economically.</p> <p>We need a new approach to waste – one which works for the new economy.</p> <p>We need an approach which recognises its cost to business, to households, to local and central Government, and the environment alike.</p> <p>We cannot keep putting recyclable and biodegradable material into landfill.</p> <p>It threatens the environment and wastes what are incredibly valuable natural resources.</p> <p>Landfill is expensive and we are pay twice when we bury resources like aluminium in landfill, when used aluminium fetches around £800 a ton.</p> <p>The landfill tax has been an important factor, and will continue to be – not only in reducing landfill – but in achieving recognition that what we call waste is actually a resource, and a valuable one too.</p> <p>It’s the awareness of this value that we need to build on as we create our new leaner, greener economy.</p> <p>Because if getting to grips with our problem is one of our biggest challenges, it also provides some of our biggest opportunities – using resources more efficiently and helping create the new green jobs of the future.</p> <p>This green Government will help deliver the green jobs, the green technologies and the greener economy we must achieve to ensure a future that is both secure and sustainable.</p> <p>Finding ways not just to use less energy, water and natural resources – but by using the waste we do produce as the valuable raw material it actually is.</p> <p>To do this we need to start thinking now about our future infrastructure needs, including greatly increasing our anaerobic digestion capacity.</p> <p>That is why we are supporting local authorities with a major PFI programme as they modernise their recovery and disposal facilities away from landfill and in line with our EU commitments.</p> <p>It is time to drive forward the delivery of our zero waste economy.</p> <p>And I’d like to unpack what we mean by ‘zero waste’.</p> <p>We are not talking about an economy where no waste is produced.</p> <p>We are not talking about a society where, overnight, everyone will become a green saint.</p> <p>I, for one, know I’m very far from achieving that hallowed state.</p> <p>What we are talking about is a society where resources are fully valued – financially and environmentally – throughout the economy.</p> <p>Where one person’s waste is another’s resource.</p> <p>Where nothing is actually ‘wasted’.</p> <p>And where, over time, we get as close as we possibly can to zero landfill.</p> <p>To get there, I want to see the creation of a new type of public consciousness about waste.</p> <p>Where consumers make deliberate decisions about preventing waste in the first place; where they buy only what they need and recycle or re-use what’s left.</p> <p>But first, everyone involved in the product supply and waste and management chain – and Government – needs to be better at communicating with consumers than we have in the past.</p> <p>We need to help people make the vital, behaviour changing connection between what they buy and recycle and its impact – both on landfill and on their local environment.</p> <p>We need to get better at explaining the link between that collection van trundling away from your street and the final destination of its contents.</p> <p>Because knowing that your recycling choices decide whether that destination is an expensive hole in the ground or reincarnation as green energy, a new product or as compost is a powerful incentive to make the right choice.</p> <p>And I want business and manufacturers to redouble their efforts to drive down the waste generated by production and the amount of packaging they use – some of which is, if we’re honest, actually marketing material.</p> <p>Because, as with so much else when it comes to waste, doing the right thing makes sound economic sense.</p> <p>Major retailers now report on their environmental performance to consumers and investors alike.</p> <p>Posters on the tube trumpet light-weight beer bottles.</p> <p>Utility companies use energy efficiency to sell their services.</p> <p>And, at a time when consumers are tightening their purse strings and investors are erring on the side of caution, what savvy business wouldn’t choose to save money while enhancing their corporate reputation?</p> <p>Businesses – inevitably – produce more waste than households.</p> <p>For too long, Government attention has been focussed on domestic waste, rather than giving businesses the encouragement they need.</p> <p>Not by tying you up in red tape or by stifling you with regulation.</p> <p>But by supporting you in ways that protects the environment and consumers while encouraging action.</p> <p>Using the idea of Responsibility Deals, for example, we will work together with retailers and the business community to continue to drive down food waste and unnecessary packaging.</p> <p>You have our support when it comes to both reducing the amount of waste you produce and in ensuring you have the facilities and opportunities to recycle what’s left.</p> <p>For decisions to work, they need to be taken as close as possible to the people and businesses involved.</p> <p>Some of our waste and resource policies of course, have to be decided at a national, European and even a global level.</p> <p>My Ministerial team and I, including the tireless Oliver Henley, who leads for us on waste and has been visiting exhibitors this morning – will be active at every level.</p> <p>We recognise that local government needs the freedom to interpret the information and advice that comes from central Government based on the needs of their local populations and infrastructure.</p> <p>Clearly local authorities will have different circumstances which determine how they develop their waste strategies.</p> <p>But people feel strongly about reductions in frontline services like bin collections, particularly when they have seen their council tax bills double – I know because I when I Shadowed CLG it was regular theme of emails and letters!</p> <p>So as part of the review I will be liaising with my colleagues in other departments to see how we can help councils deliver the quality and frequency of services their customers want whilst delivering our commitment to waste reduction.</p> <p>When it comes to motivating waste reduction, this Government believes firmly in providing incentives.</p> <p>We are not in the business of threatening people with penalties and fines.</p> <p>In fact, one of our first announcements was to reject the very concept of bin taxes.</p> <p>Our approach is based on encouraging incentives which work for taxpayers, businesses and the local environment alike.</p> <p>Last Monday, I attended the launch of RecycleBank in Windsor.</p> <p>Recycling bins, fitted with small electronic tags, weigh how much recycled material a household puts in them and, based on the amount recycled, points are awarded.</p> <p>These points can then be used to buy goods from participating businesses like M &amp; S and Magnet, used in Windsor Leisure Centres or donated to charities like Fairtrade.</p> <p>And it works.</p> <p>The pilot scheme showed residents in the trial increasing their recycling rates by 35%.</p> <p>I think this is a great example of a local authority, its waste contractor and local businesses coming together to achieve significant improvements in recycling rates, keeping council taxes down and supporting the local economy.</p> <p>And not a penalty in sight.</p> <p>Today, I have deliberately highlighted specific steps we will take at every level of the waste hierarchy because we can only genuinely start making a difference if we address each of the five parts of that hierarchy.</p> <p>There is no point in tackling household waste, local authority services, energy from waste or business behaviour in isolation.</p> <p>Like the five fingers of one hand, they work best when they work together.</p> <p>So I am pleased to take this opportunity to announce that today we are starting a review of all existing waste policies.</p> <p>This will be a fundamental review to ensure all Government policies and interventions are the right ones to meet the challenges I’ve been discussing.</p> <p>We will be seeking extensive input from both Government Departments, such as CLG, BIS and DECC, and our partners outside government, including the waste management industry, local authorities and many of you here today.</p> <p>Our review will look at every aspect of waste policy and waste management delivery in England, including household and business waste and recycling services.</p> <p>Its aim will be to maximise the contribution waste prevention and management in England can make to the green economy, including the impact on the finances of households and businesses alike, on the vast potential for job creation and on green industries themselves.</p> <p>The results of the review will be used to ensure that we are ready and able to deliver on our ambitions for a zero waste economy.</p> <p>We will be asking for evidence from industry, business, environmental experts and local government in the coming weeks.</p> <p>Our aim is to produce preliminary findings by next Spring.</p> <p>We are living in unprecedented times.</p> <p>Unprecedented levels of debt, yes.</p> <p>But unprecedented co-operation across Government too, with joint agreement on the ways and means to achieve our goals.</p> <p>And an unprecedented opportunity to create the green jobs, green growth and take our share of the green industries of the future.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> 2011-03-04 21:37:04 Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman speech at Futuresource, Excel Centre – ‘Waste – new thinking for a new economy’ – 15 June 2010 2010-06-15 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
<p>It’s a great pleasure to be with you today.</p> <p>I am passionate about sustainable development. A passion that wants to see it drive everything we do. Not just for the sake of our natural world. But for the sake of our economy.And for the sake of our society and wellbeing. I am not alone in this.</p> <p>Sustainability is clearly influencing the business plans of Government Departments.</p> <p>For example it’s good to see the Department for Transport recently establish its 560 million pound sustainable travel initiative.</p> <p>Giving local authorities more power and flexibility to meet local transport needs.</p> <p>Initiatives like this highlight the good work being carried out under the sustainable development banner.</p> <p>It builds on the work that came out of the 1992 Summit in Rio – which led to the first national sustainable development strategy under the previous conservative government.  And it informs our work as we look forward to the challenges of Rio plus twenty.</p> <p>With the Olympic Games in London in 2012 looking to be the most sustainable modern Games ever.  And the Games planned for Brazil four years later</p> <p>I certainly have plenty of best practice to share with colleagues in Brazil when I visit them next month and it is one of the things I know they are looking forward to discuss with me.</p> <p>I think such ambition underlines the need for a step change from what’s gone before.</p> <p>A step change that sees us chart a new course.</p> <p>A course that makes sustainable development a core objective across Whitehall.</p> <p>A view that was very much at the forefront of our minds when we announced our initiative to mainstream SD within Government at the end of last month.</p> <p>Here we launched a new approach that embeds SD within everything we do.</p> <p>Built on 4 solid pillars:</p> <p><strong>Policy Mainstreaming</strong> – where in partnership with Oliver Letwin and Cabinet Office colleagues – we will scrutinize departmental business plans against SD principles, to ensure they are properly embedded.</p> <p>And we will shortly produce Green Book guidance for decision makers, to take account of social aspects and the value of nature during policy appraisal.</p> <p><strong>Ministerial oversight</strong> – where my appointment to the Economic Affairs Committee will enable me to challenge or reject policies that fail the SD tests laid out in our vision.  A role I will also fulfil as a member of the Home Affairs and Reducing Regulation Committees.</p> <p>Only those policies that deliver the most benefits will be allowed to go ahead.</p> <p><strong>Leading by example</strong> through reducing the environmental impact of the Government estate- minimising waste levels – water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>At the same time making better use of existing and new Government buying standards.</p> <p>While at the same time making the whole process open, transparent and subject to independent scrutiny.</p> <p>Developing further headline SD indicators and reporting more frequently on our progress.</p> <p>The Environmental Audit Committee will continue to scrutinise our performance as they have done in the past.</p> <p>All of which enables us to focus on tangible action within departments by making sustainable development business as usual.</p> <p>This work has already started.</p> <p>Since last May we’ve made a number of announcements and policy decisions that will help deliver our SD objectives.</p> <p>These include the Green Deal, whereby existing homes can be adapted so people can live sustainably within them.</p> <p>A consultation on a carbon price floor.</p> <p>Greater support for the export of clean technologies.</p> <p>A review of our waste policy – where we move towards zero waste as we see waste as a resource.</p> <p>A one billion pound commitment to the Green Investment Bank – to help invest in infrastructure – which will underpin sustainable development.</p> <p>And with the reform of planning we will sustainable development mainstreamed.</p> <p>In the immediate future we’re looking to publish a Green Economy Roadmap.</p> <p>Here we will outline how we plan to maximise economic growth in tandem with tackling climate change.</p> <p>The Natural Environment White Paper we are developing – the first in 20 years –looks at sustainable use of natural resources.</p> <p>Here we want to bolster our commitment to value our natural capital in the policy making process.</p> <p>Our Water White paper also in the making approaches the challenges posed by climate change.</p> <p>But of course just as the rest of Whitehall has realized that one department can’t deliver on our objectives across Government.</p> <p>Then certainly Government cannot be expected to deliver across the whole of the country.</p> <p>Here I see our role as putting in place an effective framework that enables others to deliver and do the right thing.</p> <p>It was good to see plans being drawn up for a people’s sustainable development commission recently.</p> <p>A spontaneous coming together of individuals who have a passion for sustainability. Who will lobby us to improve our performance and push us to go further.</p> <p>All very Big Society.</p> <p>Their challenge to us can also be a spur to business.</p> <p>I recently published a report on resource efficiency. A report that found UK business could save 23 billion pounds a year by improving the way they use energy and water. As well as reducing their waste.</p> <p>All companies, large and small, can benefit from resource efficiency savings.  I recently heard of a small hotel in East Sussex that saved literally thousands of pounds  – with minimal investment – through measures to reduce their energy, water and transport use.</p> <p>The private sector is more aware of market forces and is quick to react to changing views and attitudes.</p> <p>In fact I think business is ahead of Government when it comes to sustainable development.</p> <p>Take for example Marks and Spencer and Unilever. Both have embraced the SD agenda. Both see it as being central to a flourishing business model.</p> <p>In 2007 M&amp;S launched Plan A, aiming to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer. Working with suppliers to combat climate change. Reduce waste. Trade ethically and help customers live healthier lifestyles.  It’s called Plan A because they believe it is the only way to do business.</p> <p>Unilever’s recent Sustainable Living Plan commits the company to sourcing 100% of their agriculturally based materials sustainably across their whole value chain.</p> <p>Their plans for growth depend on their plan to reduce costs, ensure security of resources and accelerate innovation.</p> <p>Companies like Nestle, M&amp;S and Unilever are also leading the way on the wider international stage.</p> <p>Being part of a green economy means being part of a global economy. Sourcing products and raw materials across the planet has an impact on people and communities in every corner of the world.</p> <p>It’s important therefore for UK businesses to be innovative and outward looking.</p> <p>Important for them to be able to see the big picture and understand the social, environmental and economic impact their business decisions can have.</p> <p>UK business is well placed to become a world leader in developing resource efficient, green technology and reducing the negative impact we have on the natural world.</p> <p>I firmly believe that sustainability and the green agenda have a role to play in transforming the UK economy, offering real opportunities for our future success.</p> <p>The need for greater energy efficiency. For generating less waste. For preserving our natural resources all can help us on the road to economic recovery.</p> <p>Last month’s mainstreaming SD announcement sets us on course to achieve our objectives within this wider framework.</p> <p>This is the road we intend to take.</p> <p>And with others help I believe we will successfully complete this journey.</p> <p>A journey which starts now – with our sights firmly set on the Rio plus twenty conference next year.</p> 2011-03-22 00:40:36 None Secretary of State’s speech to the SDUK conference None 2011-03-21 Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
March 2014
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