Natural environment white paper
The Natural Environment White Paper ‘The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature’ was published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in June 2011. It sets out a vision for the natural environment of England over the next 50 years. The white paper includes a programme of action which aims to improve the quality of the natural environment, halt species and habitat decline, and strengthen the connection between people and nature.
The four ambitions outlined within the white paper, intended to ‘mainstream’ the value of nature across society are:
- Protecting and improving the natural environment.
- Growing a greener economy.
- Reconnecting people and nature.
- International and European Union (EU) leadership.
Within the four ambitions there are 92 specific commitments.
 Key measures
The key measures that the paper outlines include:
- New local nature partnerships to identify opportunities for nature conservation at the local level and to help strengthen relationships between local agencies and organisations.
- Creation of Nature Improvement Areas (NIA) connecting sites for wildlife. See Nature Improvement Areas for more information.
- Biodiversity offsetting for developers and local authorities to help ensure there is a net gain in biodiversity.
- Enhancing local public health activities connecting people with nature for improved health.
- Designation of Green Areas which allow local communities to protect important areas for recreation, wildlife or amenity.
- Green Infrastructure Partnership, to help form the development of green infrastructure in England.
- Phasing out peat use.
- Improved green spaces in cities and towns.
- National Biodiversity Network.
Since the paper was published in 2011, Defra has published periodic implementation updates outlining progress. It lists the status of each of the 92 commitments. In 2014, indicators (England Natural Environment Indicators) were published to help track the progress of the broad ambitions.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Biodiversity offsetting.
- Designated sites.
- Ecological network.
- National nature reserves.
- National parks.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- National Trust.
- Natural England.
- Nature Improvement Areas.
- Protected species.
 External references
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