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Black Environment Network: Finance

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have provided to the Black Environment Network; for what purpose the funding was provided; and what the outcome of such funding has been, broken down by project. (135406)

The following table shows funding contributions to the Black Environment Network (BEN) over recent years from English Nature and the Countryside Agency (CA), as founding bodies for Natural England.

£

Countryside Agency

English Nature

Natural England

2002-03

13,300

3,000

2003-04

7,700

3,000

2004-05

7,800

7,000

2005-06

5,200

3,000

2006-07

0

0

0

Totals

34,000

16,000

No payments have been made to BEN after 1 October 2006 from any of the founding bodies, or Natural England.

English Nature (EN) had a long standing relationship with BEN and recognised the valuable work done to support and develop the involvement of ethnic minority groups and individuals with the natural environment. The payments in 2004-05 and 2005-06 were to further develop their national and regional networks, and to provide English Nature staff with awareness training, advice and guidance with projects involving ethnic communities.

Through our support, BEN was able to improve its network administration and support, further develop its website, and share good practice. An English Nature staff training event was very successful and well attended. Staff gained confidence and understanding, and were able to follow up and seek specific advice on their projects.

Additionally, the CA provided a three year grant to fund specific posts within BEN from January 2002 to March 2005.

BEN received funding of £98,473 over three years for their project ‘Core Strategic Programme’ under the Environmental Action Fund (EAF) 2002-05.

The project aim was to support and enable ethnic participation in sustainable development through developing the knowledge, skills and values needed to make decisions about how they do things, individually and collectively, locally and globally.

Key project activities and outcomes included:

Work developing and strengthening BEN as an infrastructural organisation

Enabling active participation in sustainable living,

Formalisation and promotion of partnership initiatives focussed on ethnic environmental participation,

Strategic participation in mainstream environmental movement, in order to maintain profile of ethnic community environmental participation,

Publication and promotion of resource materials based on models of good practice, in order to stimulate ethnic community environmental participation,

Development and promotion of BEN as a training and consultancy resource for ethnic community environmental participation.