7:00AM GMT 13 Dec 2012
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"Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, is considering merging the work of Natural England and the Environment Agency as part of the “bonfire of the quangos”.
The Wildlife Trusts fear this will lead to a cut in staff and budgets, threatening key programmes to protect rare species.
Even more seriously, the review suggests that Natural England should “support and contribute to the Government's aims and priorities as effectively as possible".
But legal advice commissioned by the RSPB points out that this clashes with NE’s original purpose, that is "to ensure that the natural environment is conserved.”
Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said the review threatened the independence of NE and therefore its ability to stand up to the Government on controversial planning decisions."
Just seen this news item. I must do some more research on it!