The House of Lords Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 has published its report.
Twelve years have passed since the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act received Royal Assent in March 2006. The Act introduced major structural changes, abolishing the Countryside Agency and English Nature and transferring many of their functions to a new body, Natural England, which was charged with conserving, enhancing and managing the natural environment. The Act also sought to promote the interests of rural areas by establishing an independent Commission for Rural Communities (CRC).
Since 2006 many of these provisions have been hollowed out. The CRC, which performed an important role as an advocate for rural England, has been abolished, and was replaced by a unit within Defra—the Rural Communities Policy Unit (RCPU)—which has itself subsequently been abolished.