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Ministerial leadership and oversight: progress review

A year on from publication of the Coalition Government’s vision for sustainable development, Defra’s Sustainable Development Team reviews progress on ministerial leadership and oversight.

This report is one of a series of progress reviews across the themes of the Mainstreaming Sustainable Development vision.

We are working closely with the Cabinet Office to promote the mainstreaming of sustainable development in departmental business plans, including by working with the Minister of State for Government Policy Oliver Letwin to provide him with lines of enquiry for his quarterly challenge sessions with each Secretary of State.

Scrutinising policy

Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, uses her membership of the Home Affairs, Economic Affairs and Reducing Regulation Cabinet Committees to review policies submitted for clearance through those committees, ensuring that agreed policies are consistent with the Government’s vision for sustainable development.

This engagement is supported by Defra’s sustainable development team, who have now been reviewing for a year all cabinet correspondence coming into Defra. This allows us to scrutinise policies for their sustainable development credentials, raise awareness of sustainable development and keep its profile high at Cabinet level, as well as identifying key opportunities to enhance policy.

Significant proposals that the sustainable development team have engaged in include:

  • Consultation on High Speed Rail 2 (HS2);
  • Development of Planning Policy Statements (PPS) and the National Planning Policy Framework, and the Decentralisation of planning application fee setting;
  • Housing Strategy 2011;
  • Development of policy for the Localism Act;
  • Heavy goods vehicle charging;
  • Penfold Review of non-planning consents;
  • Expansion of permitted development rights;
  • Local Transport White Paper and development of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund;
  • UK’s approach on transposing the European Union (EU) directive on intelligent transport systems;
  • EU Air Fare transparency regulation enforcement regime;
  • Public health outcomes framework 2012.

This article is one of a series of reviews on progress in the first year since publication of Mainstreaming Sustainable Development, the Coalition Government’s vision for sustainable development. Read all the articles here…

Next article: Mainstreaming sustainable development in policy: progress review »

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