UK. Minister Ian Pearson announces review of the Royal Commission on Environment Pollution

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

The Government is to carry out a review of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, Environment Minister Ian Pearson announced today in a Written Ministerial Statement released to Parliament.

"We are to conduct a review of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

The review will evaluate the performance of the Royal Commission since its last review in 1999, in order to make recommendation on its future development. The review will focus on the quality and impact of the Commission's studies, its working methods, resources and how they are managed.

In carrying out the study, my department will consult with relevant organizations and others, who have experience of the Royal Commission's work."

Editors note:

The review is being carried out as part of a government recommendation that public bodies are subjected to periodic and detailed study to ensure that they are still delivering high quality services and are adequately resourced. The last review was carried out in 1999.

The RCEP is an independent standing body established in 1970 to advise the Queen, the Government, Parliament and the public on environmental issues. Its primary role is to contribute to policy development by providing an authoritative factual basis for policy-making and debates, and setting new policy agendas and priorities. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, and normally serve three year terms. The appointments are part time.

The Royal Commission has provided advice in the form of reports and since 1999 has produced 4 major reports and 3 special reports. Although Ministers can ask the Commission to advise on a particular issue, the subjects for study have been chosen by the Commission. It is currently finishing its 26th report, on the urban environment and has just started work on a new study on the Environmental effects of novel materials and applications, which is due to report in 2008.

It is independent of Government Departments, although it is sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from whom it receives its funding and Defra will take forward the review on behalf of Government. The review will be carried out by consultants working on behalf of Defra who will primarily contact organizations and others, who have been involved in the work of the Royal Commission. It is expected to report in spring 2007.

Once the review has reported, Defra will examine its recommendations and see how they should be implemented, in particular, by reviewing the agreement setting out the framework within which the relationship between the two bodies operates. Should it prove necessary, Defra will then bring forward proposals to change the Framework document and the way that the RCEP operates.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 November 2006 )