Today I am publishing the report of the review of the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural England (NE), which I launched in December 2012, and the report of the review of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), which commenced in March 2013.
These reviews have taken a fundamental look at how the bodies can continue to deliver the Government’s priorities for the environment with improved resilience in the face of current and future environmental and economic challenges.
I have concluded that the EA and NE should be retained as separate public bodies with separate purposes and functions, but that both bodies should continue to reform how they deliver their services to their customers and drive further efficiencies.
The bodies will be tasked with delivering the conclusions of the reviews, developing a jointly owned implementation plan in close consultation with DEFRA. DEFRA will hold to account the leadership of both bodies for the delivery of the reforms.
Working with the devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales on the review of JNCC, I have concluded that JNCC is the most appropriate organisation to deliver its functions, and should be retained as a non-departmental public body. The review has identified a number of measures to deliver a more effective and efficient service which JNCC will now implement, developing their implementation plans in close consultation with DEFRA and the devolved Adminstrations, and reporting regularly on progress.
The reports of these reviews will be published online, and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.