Natural England
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Natural England calls for partnership on climate change adaptation

Natural England, the Government's adviser on the natural environment in England, is calling for a Europe-wide partnership on adaptation. The call comes ahead of the launch of the new European Commission Green Paper "Adapting to Climate Change" (3 July 2007).

Natural England hosted an open debate amongst MEPs yesterday (Tuesday 26 June) before the launch of the new Green Paper in Brussels.

Natural England is calling for European-wide partnership on climate change adaptation amongst all the environment agencies to work with the European Union to:

  • Climate proof the Common Agricultural Policy.
  • Maximise the role of sustainable land management for both adaptation and mitigation incentives.
  • Provide strong biofuel accreditation schemes to provide consumer confidence in biofuels.
  • Ensure the Natura 2000 network of international wildlife sites is resilient against climate change.

 

Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said: "A European partnership is needed to ensure we get the right policies and the right programmes with the right budget to deliver a proactive response to climate change. The forthcoming European Budget review and the CAP Health Check* are ideal opportunities to prioritise the funding of climate security and quality of life across Europe."

Joining Dr Phillips on the podium at the Natural England event, as MEPs debate the key points that should appear in the Green Paper, is England's Minister for Biodiversity, Barry Gardiner.

Mr Gardiner said: "Today's conference shows that government was right to set up Natural England. They are taking forward the issues of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change right to the heart of European policy formation. In the UK, we are co-ordinating our policies on forestry, water, energy and agriculture to help all forms of life adapt to climate change. That is how we will deliver the best possible future for biodiversity across the UK and we must do the same across Europe."

Wildlife in Europe has already begun to react to a changing climate. In England little egrets and wasp spiders are spreading north, mountain ringlets are declining, and warm-water marine wildlife such as sea turtles and sun fish are turning up in greater numbers. Sea level rise and increased storminess have caused the loss of large areas of coastal saltmarsh in south east England: 40 hectares a year in Essex alone.

Characteristic English landscapes face significant change in the decades ahead and familiar and well-loved features, such as beech trees and bluebells, are likely to diminish or disappear.

 

Notes for editors:

1. Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. We conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings.

2. The event for MEPs will take place at 12:30-14:00, PHS Atrium, 2nd Floor, EU Parliament. Please contact the Press Office to reserve a place on 0845 603 9953.

3. Adapting to Climate Change - launching a public debate on options for EU Action, 3rd July 2007, Alcide de Gasperi Room, Charlemagne Building, Brussels.

4. *The Common Agricultural Policy 'Health Check' in 2007/08 is an intermediate review of the current policy set in 2005. It will consider both some immediate adjustments to the current policy and the future 'Direction of Travel'.

5. The Branch Project (Biodiversity Requires Adaption in Northwest Europe under a CHanging climate) is an INTERREG IIIB funded spatial planning project bringing together spatial planners policy makers and scientists across North West Europe.

6. A range of photographs are available of beech woods, bluebell woods and species at increased risk of extinction in England such as song thrush and skylark.

For further information contact: The National Press Office on 0845 603 9953, press@naturalengland.org.uk, out of hours 07970 098005.

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