Linked to the document above is publication of a white paper on the natural environment. According to Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Food and Rural Affairs, this "places the value of nature at the centre of the choices our nation must make: to enhance our environment, economic growth and personal wellbeing." The paper includes various commitments, including the following:
- publication of a new Biodiversity Strategy for England, setting a direction for policy over the next decade;
- establishment of Local Nature Partnerships to raise awareness and operate alongside LEPs;
- creation of new Nature Improvement Areas to "enhance and reconnect nature on a significant scale";
- adoption of a strategic approach to planning for nature within and across local areas through reform of the planning system;
- inclusion of "natural capital" at the centre of economic thinking (and within the UK Environmental Accounts) to ensure that the benefits of nature are properly valued, and the establishment of an independent Natural Capital Committee to advise on the state of natural capital in England;
- establishment of a business-led Ecosystem Markets Task Force to review the opportunities for UK business in the market for green goods and sustainable services;
- publication of a review of waste policy later in 2011;
- issue of guidance for businesses on measuring and reporting corporate environmental impacts;
- creation of a new designation - "Local Green Area" - to allow local people to protect the areas important to them; and
- establishment of a Green Infrastructure Partnership to support green infrastructure.
The paper also contains a commitment to "develop a set of key indicators by spring 2012 to track progress on this White Paper [and to] publish periodically a single concise and integrated report on the state of the English environment."