Evaluate the impact of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill on the Countryside, land management oranother identified sector.
Rural development has beenconsidered as a critical element since the enforcement of the Rural Strategy2004 as argued by Ozay Mehment (2005).The Government's strive to accomplish rural development in order to achieve asustainable economic form both in the rural and the urban areas in order tomaintain environmental stability as argued by Mike Jenks et al (2004) further justifies the above argument. In this report a critical analysis on theimpact of the Natural Environment and rural Communities Bill is presented tothe reader. The report commences with an overview on the importance of the billto the rural environment and the overall development of the economy followed bythe critical analysis on the legal aspects of the implementation of the bill inthe countryside businesses and land management. Furthermore, the report alsoprovides a comprehensive analysis on the policy statement of the bill prior tothe analysis of the legal aspects in order to identify key factors that can bediscussed in the discussion on the legal factors.
2.0: Overview of the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill
The rural strategy 2004 is the keyinstigating factor for the enforcement of the Natural Environment and RuralCommunities Bill as argued by Catherine L. Kling et al (2005)who argue that the need to articulate the concerns, needs and interests ofrural people and businesses is the driving factor for the enforcement of thebill. The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill is designed to helpachieve a rich and diverse natural environment and thriving rural communities,through modernised and simplified arrangements for delivering governmentpolicy (DEFRA, 2005). The above statement makes it clearthat the bill focuses on the preservation of the natural reserves and providesdevelopment opportunities with a flexible and modern approach to develop therural areas through industrial development and businesses. Furthermore, the fact that the billembraces the Government Policies and strives to deliver the governmentalpolicies (i.e.) the agenda of the Rural strategy 2004 for the development ofthe rural communities and the countryside further justifies that the bill isnot only for the preservation of the natural environment, but also to develop asustainable strategy to generate revenue through the process for thedevelopment of the communities involved. The key elements of the bill asmentioned below justify the aforementioned argument. 'Enhancingbiodiversity and landscape - in rural, urban and coastal areas - with promotingaccess and recreation'
The fact that the governmentthrough establishing the Natural England strives to provide a singleorganizational responsibility for the aforementioned justifies the significanceof the bill towards natural conservation. Although there are many independentorganizations acting for the development and preservation of the naturalenvironment of the nation, the establishment of a single organization - NaturalEngland to accomplish it across the country is the significant element of thebill. 'Commissionfor Rural Communities' The formal establishment of theCommission as an independent body to act as advocate, adviser and watchdog forrural people makes it clear that the enforcement of the rural strategy is notonly for the preservation of the resources but also for the implementation ofthe government policies effectively. Furthermore, the fact that the commissionacts as an independent body makes it clear that the sole principle behind thebill is to ensure that the Government policies achieve tangible developmentthrough making difference in the community.
3.0: Policy statement and legalimplications The policy statement of the billclearly states the two major significant elements of the bill (i.e.)Preservation of the natural resources and landscape through Natural England andMeasuring progress towards sustainable rural communities through the Commissionfor Rural Communities. This makes it clear that the bill is not only apreserving body but also a governing body to legally enforce the development ofthe rural areas in a sustained manner. The explicit declaration that theCommission for Rural Communities is not a delivering body and acts as asupervisory board to govern the sustainable development of the ruralenvironment makes it clear that the commission predominantly governs the legalimplications in the rural development, countryside businesses and landmanagement. The presence of the commission as an impartial watchdog under thecontrol of the secretary of state further justifies that the implementation ofthe bill is predominantly to accomplish the legal enforcement in achievingsustainable development in the rural areas. The explicit declaration on thepolicy statement that the commission assess the performance of the governmentand its delivery agents in rural proofing and identifying the areas ofimprovement or different approach makes it clear that the commission serves asan unbiased watchdog and strives to accomplish the legal enforcement in therural communities whilst deploying the Government policies. An insight into the FinalRegulatory impact Assessment (2005)of the bill further makes it evident that the bill has formulated theCommission for Rural Communities in order to accomplish the Rural Strategy 2004(RS04) which is the legal binding element for the Government policies. The major legal implicationsidentified by Jill D'Ambrosio (2005)focus upon the Habitat protection, wildlife protection, and land drainagebylaws and Biodiversity Duty which are also assessed by the final impactassessment of the bill. From the above statements, thelegal areas where the bill is focusing are predominantly upon the preservationof the wildlife and the enforcement of the government policies to accomplishsustainable rural development.
4.0: Impact on Land Management Mark C. Anderson et al (2005)argue hat the land management in the rural areas especially the largelandscapes in the rural areas is a critical element for the sustainable ruraldevelopment. This is apparently because of the fact that the rural areas in thenation possess significance due to the richness of the landscape and thedevelopment of any business in the area that affect the overall ruraldevelopment by suppressing the natural environment is considered to affect thesustainability of the rural development. This further justifies that the ruraldevelopment initiatives through business development is the major element thatneeds addressing whilst striving to develop business in the rural areas. An interesting issue for discussionin this context is the increased housing development in the rural areas. Theincreased level of the housing development in the countryside mainly with manyaffluent professionals relocating to the rural areas has also increased thelevel of pollution in the atmosphere through the increased level oftransportation as argued by Mike Jenks et al (2004) further justifies that thelegal aspects with regards to the land management in the rural areas is notonly with the supervision of the abuse of the landscape but also to accomplisha balanced between the environment and rural development. Furthermore, the fact that the landmanagement in the rural area is not only with the managing the housingdevelopment but predominantly with the management and use of land resources ina sustained manner as argued by Mark C. Andersen (2005). This makes it clearthat the land management in the rural context further faces the hurdle ofmaximising the public benefits and enhancing the environment through thedevelopment of the rural areas in a sustainable fashion. This also signifiesthat the enforcement of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill hasincreased the need to accomplish the effective land management of the ruralform to integrate the communities in order to sustain the development. The major areas of focus in theland management are discussed below
Apart from the aforementionedfactors, another critical implication of the Natural Environment and RuralCommunities Bill on land management is the habitat protection. The fact thatthe habitat in a given rural form is dependent upon the land and the resourcesfrom the land environment makes it clear that the land management is a criticalelement for the sustainable rural development and habitat protection. Anotherinteresting factor as argued by Mark C. Andersen et al (2005) is the fact thatthe habitat protection is a critical element for the sustainability of thelandscape and also prevents the risk of natural imbalance in the environment. Furthermore,even though the habitat protection is a separate element in the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill, the land management is a criticalelement in the rural development, since it embraces various other factors likethe wild life, habitat and above all the community in the region underconsideration. This makes it clear that the land management initiatives adheredby the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill will not only accomplisheffectiveness in land management but also accomplish sustainable ruraldevelopment through the enforcement of the commission for rural communities. Land Management in Area ofOutstanding Natural Beauty The Section 85 of CROW Act 2000empowers the relevant bodies to exercise their functions in relation to theAONB. In the light of the above statement the Natural Environment and RuralCommunities Bill can exercise its authority to protect specific areas and alsothe interests of the community through enforcing specific bylaws not only fordrainage management but also for the sustainable rural development. Thecommission for rural communities not only monitor the Government policyimplementations but also as a watchdog to prevent any abuse of areas ofoutstanding natural beauty. This further makes it clear that the enforcementSection 85 of CROW Act 2000 are subject to the Section 11A of the NationalParks and Access to the Country Side Act of 1949 which monitors many statutoryundertakers including public gas transporters, water and Sewerage undertakers,universal service provider etc. The aforementioned argumentsjustify that the legal implications of the enforcement of the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill although friendly to the ruralenvironment further intensifies the issues faced by statutory undertakersthrough the increased level of regulations and restrictions to access in therural areas. This is applicable not only the AONB but across the entire ruralgeography itself. This not onlyaffects the growth of the technological developments in the rural areas butalso hinders the overall rural development itself since the rural developmentcan be effectively accomplished only through the modernization of thecommunity. This also justifies that the effective rural development can beaccomplished only through the relaxed implementation of the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill rather than focusing upon the Naturalenvironment preservation. The analysis in the next section on the businessdevelopment in the country side will provide further insight on the impact ofthe Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill.
- Agri-environment schemes: Theoperation of the agri-environment schemes like the countryside stewardshipand environmentally sensitive areas to monitor the unbiased deployment ofthe schemes and protect the interests of the local communities isessential. This is accomplished through enforcing the Commission for RuralCommunities justifies the legal implication of the enforcement of thebill. Furthermore, the major impact on the land management especially inthe Agri-environment schemes by the Natural Environment and RuralCommunities Bill is the cost benefits and the sustainable developmentthrough the unbiased deployment of the schemes.
- Hill Farming: Another interestingelement with the land management is the focus of the bill upon thedevelopment of the uplands through encouraging hill farming. The fact thata major segment of the UK landscape is hilly in nature makes it clear thatthe development of the hilly areas in the rural areas is an integralelement for the sustained rural development. In order to effectivelyaccomplish the rural development the encouraging of the hill farmingshould be deployed not only with the environmental and communityconsiderations but also with respect to the need to preserve the naturalresources. This is evident because of the fact that it is difficult toreplenish the resources in the hill regions thus making the landmanagement very critical.
- Drainage Bylaws: The provision ofthe ability to introduce bylaws by the Natural Environment and RuralCommunities Bill in order to implement the land management in the ruralareas through controlling the drainage system in a given rural landscapeor rural area so as to benefit the community as well as accomplish thesustainable rural development. The significant factor that the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill can protect the natural environmentby enforcing bylaws specific to a locality in order to accomplish theproper defence of land against sea and tidal water gives a greater degreeof influence over the rural development. Although the aforementionedprovides a high level of customisation in terms of implementation of apiece of legislation in a given rural locality, the fact that this levelof freedom may also affect the overall sustenance of the environmentthrough the high level of differentiation in the implementation of theGovernment policies eventually resulting in a highly diverse ruralenvironment which might affect the sustainability. Furthermore, thepresence of the commission for rural communities as an unbiased body toact as a watchdog protects the interests of the community thus enhancingthe overall sustainability of the rural form. The arguments of Mike Jenkset al (2004) that the urban development in nation can be effectivelyaccomplished through the concentric rural development and sustained growthof the community which will prove effective to the overall sustainabilityof the environment of the nation.
5.0: Business Development incountryside and Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill Striving for the modernization ofthe rural areas always accompanies the implementation of new rural developmentpolicies to deploy modern business development strategies. One of theparticular legislative requirements that is of interest in this section is Universalservice Provider (s.76 of, and paragraph 93(x) of Schedule 4 to, the PostOffice Act 1969 (1969 c48)).Under this a company that aims to develop or expand its business in a givenAONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) faces several hurdles including thevery basic issue of licensing to conduct business in the area itself.Furthermore, the regulations on the drainage and the provision of the bylawswill affect the development of the business in the rural regions since theprobability of the presence of unique regulations in different areas willdecrease the level of consistency to deploy development strategies by a givenorganization. Furthermore, the environmentalregulations especially the emission and the regulations under the transport actfor private vehicles and the commuters further makes development of thebusiness an ordeal mainly because of the need to adhere to the environmentalregulations and bylaws. Alongside, the fact that the restrictions on the typeof business in the rural areas as well as the control on the level ofindustrialization in the rural make it further critical for businessdevelopment in the rural areas. The aforementioned factorsnaturally affect the growth of the rural areas (i.e.) affect the sustainablerural development. This is not only because of the obvious reasons of thecompanies declining to invest in business development in rural areas but alsobecause of the need to accomplish sustainable competitive advantage andbusiness development adhering to the bylaws and other legislative regulations. Another critical element that isargued by James Ven Ganzhong (2005)is the environmental restrictions on the business development other than theimplementation of legal factors. The author argues that the environmentalfactors are the critical elements that constitute the overall target market forthe company which is essential for achieve sustainable business development. Inthe light of the above statement, the competition intense businesses likeretailing and IT-based businesses cannot thrive effectively in a rural areaunless the company's head for operations is at a key location using the ruralbranch for secondary activities. Since the secondary activities predominantlyinvolve handling of waste in case of warehouses and increased level ofcommuting in case of development centres like call centres, the stringentregulations posed by the bill affect the overall development of the rural areasitself through hindering the development of business in the country side.
6.0: Conclusions From the above arguments it isclear that the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill strive toaccomplish the sustainable development of the rural areas. Even through thisprovides immense opportunities for innovative business ventures and alsoprotects the environment through effective land management, the fact that theNatural Environment and Rural Communities Bill hinders the business developmentin the countryside affects the overall purpose of the bill. Furthermore, theemphasis on the natural environment protection has pushed the businessdevelopment in the countryside to the back seat. Although the bill strives toprotect the interests of the communities whilst implementing developmentstrategies, the stringent nature of the rules and regulations and especiallythe legal implications associated affect the business development in thecountry side. Thus to conclude this report it is clear that the NaturalEnvironment and Rural Communities Bill is a piece of legislation focused uponaccomplishing effective rural development whilst failing to encourage themodernisation through the stringent rules and regulations in the environment.