NE: Over 5m hectares of land in England, an area roughly twice the size of Wales, are now covered by schemes which aim to conserve our valuable landscape and its wildlife, according to a report published by Defra and Natural England recently.
Environmental Stewardship is a Government-funded scheme open to all farmers, which funds the delivery of environmental benefits through agriculture. The scheme aims to conserve wildlife, maintain & enhance our landscape quality and character, protect our natural resources, and promote public access to the countryside.
This report also makes a number of recommendations for the future of the scheme, in particular the need to address the scope that Environmental Stewardship has to help combat climate change and help mitigate its effects on wildlife and habitats.
Press release ~ Environmental Stewardship Review of Progress ~ Defra – Environmental Stewardship ~ Defra, UK - Farming - Single Payment Scheme ~ Natural England ~ Environment Agency ~ Future of Farming Awards' scheme ~
Mapping a better natural environment ~ Countryside Quality Counts (CQC) ~ Countryscape ~ Landscape Character Network ~ Countryside Access ~ Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape report) (Warning 26Mb file) ~ Map A – Tracking Change in the Character of the English Landscape, 1999-2003) (Care - 5.5Mb file) ~ Joint Character Areas
HC: More patients are rating the care provided by NHS hospitals as ‘excellent’, according to a survey published last week by the Healthcare Commission. In the biggest survey of patients staying overnight in English NHS hospitals, 42% of respondents gave their care the top possible rating, up from 38% in 2002 and an increase from 41% in the last survey.
The survey also shows that satisfaction with overall care remains high with the proportion of patients saying their care is “good”, “very good” or “excellent” at 92%. But the Commission added that there were striking variations in the responses of patientsat different NHS trusts, suggesting that some trusts must take more action if they are to achieve the standards of the best. For example, 77% of patients rated their care as “excellent” in the best performing trust, but only 24% in the lowest performing.
CLG: Action is being taken across government to tackle antisemitism according to Cohesion Minister, Parmjit Dhanda, as he published the Government's one year on response to the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism.
These actions included measures to improve the recording & reporting of antisemitic incidents; increasing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in prosecuting hate crimes, promoting community cohesion & shared values; the creation of a cross government working task group and an increase in the work being done by schools on this issue.
Press release ~
All-Party Inquiry into Antisemitism: One year on progress report ~ All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism ~ All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism ~ European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) ~ Race for Justice Declaration ~ Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
PB: The Parole Board has published its Business Plan for 2008/09, setting out its aims, objectives and targets for the coming 12 months. The Plan details how the Board will manage the changing nature of its work and workload as it moves towards becoming a fully judicially autonomous court/tribunal and joins the Access to Justice Group of the Ministry of Justice.
SOCA: The Serious Organised Crime Agency has published its 2nd Annual Report - for the year 2007/08. Their work has involved; significant seizures of drugs and the chemicals required to produce class A drugs; more money taken from criminals; increasing use of new tools & powers; and work with the private sector to make crime harder to commit in the first place. On 1 April 2008 the Assets Recovery Agency merged with SOCA.
WO: The Wales Office has published its Annual Report 2008.
DH: In his second annual report, covering the year 2007/08, NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson, said that the NHS is on track to meet a range of performance measures in areas of key concern to the public such as:
* Transforming the waiting experience for millions of patients
* Improving safety and quality
The Department also published two additional publications on the same date.