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Committee Chair condemns movement of Natural England staff to EU exit

Committee Chair condemns movement of Natural England staff to EU exit

08 Nov 2018

The Environmental Audit Committee has published a letter from Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, stating 400 staff have been moved from Natural England, the Environment Agency, Rural Payments Agency, and other Defra agencies to work on the EU Exit in the central department.

Fifty of those staff have come from Natural England, raising concerns that the agency will not be able to fulfil its roles, particularly in protecting SSSIs.  

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee condemed the movement of staff, saying:

Preparations for leaving the EU must not get in the way of protecting our treasured natural spaces and iconic British wildlife. It is disappointing that Defra has raided staff at Natural England, the organisation responsible for protecting some of the most highly valued wildlife areas in England to prepare for Brexit. Natural England must not become a poor relation to Defra. Ministers must ensure the valuable work it does to promote biodiversity is given the priority it deserves.”

The letter confirmed 13 of the 50 Natural England staff work on SSSIs, and this work will be absorbed by other members of staff. It also states that work which is not a high priority has either been paused or reallocated.

More information can be found here.

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