21 August 2013
Government must move to sort out conservation lands – Environment Commissioner
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has urged the Government to sort out the management and administration of stewardship land – a land category that covers a third of the conservation estate.
The call comes in Dr Wright's latest report, Investigating the future of conservation: The case of stewardship land, which was released this morning.
Dr Wright says that changes need to be made to protect precious areas that fall under the category.
"Stewardship land makes up a third of the conservation estate. Some of it has high conservation value and some of it has little or no conservation value. Yet all has the same low level of protection.
"I am particularly concerned about the process that allows for stewardship land to be swapped for private land. It is not up to dealing with complex decisions based on the concept of net conservation benefit.
"In line with this, I have recommended that new policy be developed, based on clear principles and transparent process.
"I have also recommended that areas of stewardship land that warrant higher protection be identified and protected through reclassification.
"I have no doubt we will see more commercial use of the conservation estate in the future, and it is vital that these issues around stewardship land be resolved to provide greater certainty for both conservation and business."
A copy of the report can be downloaded here. A youtube video of Dr Wright summarising the report is available here.