Natural Environment

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th January 2017.

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Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport 12:00 am, 19th January 2017

What plans her Department has to increase awareness of the potential benefits of the natural environment.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This Government established the Natural Capital Committee, which we re-established in this current Parliament. We will also be publishing our 25-year environment plan in due course. We want to help everyone to understand how a healthy environment improves their lives and how spending time in the natural environment benefits health and wellbeing.

Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Live long and prosper, Mr Speaker.

As my hon. Friend knows, I have been running a national campaign to save the hedgehog. She may also know that 2 February marks National Hedgehog Day. What can she do to ensure that young people are involved in the campaign to save our wildlife, obviously including the hedgehog, in the run-up to 2 February?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I commend my hon. Friend for his continuing support of the hedgehog. The Government support efforts to make our gardens more hedgehog-friendly through the creation of havens, and the campaigns within local communities to work together to look out for the hedgehog, including that of BBC Suffolk; I encourage him to get BBC Devon to do the same. We do have a proud tradition, and we want to continue that with our next generation.

Photo of Mary Creagh Mary Creagh Chair, Environmental Audit Committee

Indeed, Mr Speaker. Many happy returns.

Hedgehogs and other wild mammals, and precious bird species, are currently protected under European Union regulations. The Environmental Audit Committee’s report on the effects on the natural environment of leaving the EU recommended a new environmental protection Act. Has the Minister had a chance to read the report, and what is her assessment of our recommendation?

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I read it from cover to cover on the day it came out, as is appropriate for a Minister in serving the needs of the House. I can honestly say that our intention is to bring environmental legislation into law on the day that we leave the European Union. As a consequence, we see no need for any future legislation at this stage.