I firmly believe in protecting both the UK's vibrant ecosystem and the natural environment worldwide. The Government is committed to being the UK's greenest ever, and has established a 25-Year Plan to Improve the Environment to help achieve this goal. I believe an independent adviser such as Natural England is invaluable in achieving this goal, protecting our natural spaces and helping to reverse the decline in biodiversity.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Natural England have responded rigorously to the need to balance public spending and to manage resources. As I understand it, Natural England has transformed the way it does business, working in partnership and deploying resources where they will have greatest impact.
I also understand Natural England's new interim Chief Executive, Mariam Spain, is working closely with its board, Ministers and Defra to agree the organisation's future priorities in light of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan, as well as its statutory duties as stated in the Natural Environmental and Rural Communities Act 2006. Natural England is also fully engaged with the Department's current business planning round, as well as in preparations for the next Spending Review. I am aware the organisation is also exploring options to further diversify its funding base.