photo by Anita363 (Flickr CC)

The UK government has released the Natural Environment White Paper, an official report on its environmental vision for the next 50 years.

In the wake of the somewhat revolutionary report by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) entitled the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA), which I wrote about last Thursday, the white paper attempts to address questions of biodiversity in tandem with climate change, population, etc.

From Defra’s website:

We will work to improve the quality of our natural environment and will aim to halt the decline in habitats and species, degradation of landscapes and erosion of natural capital. We will achieve this through more joined-up action at local and national level to create an ecological network resilient to changing pressures.

Themes covered by the paper include a green economy, woodland management, agriculture, tourism, schooling and volunteering.

Conservation groups were largely positive about the paper, though the Countryside Alliance and the Woodland Trust voiced some reservations.

There was some criticism of the report from political opposition:

It fails to set out a clear plan for major challenges such as reforestation or biodiversity loss, or deal with concerns about planning policy.

–Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh

Read more on the report in the Guardian and on the BBC.