Government cuts DEFRA funding - climate change departments at risk

6th February 2008
Environment department ministers will meet today to discuss funding cuts of almost £1bn over three years.

The departments woes have come from the cost of handling farm subsidies, and setting up a contingency fund for a raft of disease outbreaks including including the foot and mouth, blue tongue and avian flu. Extra money for flood prevention has be secured but elsewhere there are to be cuts.

The Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) and Natural England are all to face reduction in spending according to the Guardian.

The Forestry Commission has already agreed to 6% efficiency cuts but now faces the prospect of cuts to its staff and curtailing its work on climate change.

Wrap, which promotes recycling, is being cut by 25% and issued more than 30 compulsory notices on Monday. The agency plays a key role in phasing out landfill sites, something the government must do to avoid EU fines. This work must now continue with no funding increase.

Natural England, which is responsible for nature reserves, is being asked to further its cuts of £12.5m. Many fear these cuts could lead to large scale redundancies or cuts to core conservation programmes designed to protect wild birds and biodiversity.

According to a DEFRA spokesman "Budgets for 2008-09 are currently being considered by ministers with the aim of being finalised in early 2008."

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