Environmental protection

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on environmental protection. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

24.06.2014Green Investment Bank
The Government has announced the creation of a Green Investment Bank to stimulate investment in green technologie. This note includes details of its role and its location.
05.06.2014Shale gas and fracking
Drilling for shale gas is at only the exploratory phase in the UK. But the rapid development of shale gas resources in North America has transformed the world gas-market outlook. This note includes new tables showing petroleum exploration licences by constituency.
14.05.2014Carbon Price Floor
Details of the Carbon Floor Price and the Governemnts annoucnemnt to freeze prices until 2020
14.05.2014Green Belt
Government's policy on the green belt protection is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. This note sets out concern about green belt protect and Government responses to these concerns. It gives links to further statistics on the size of the green belt.
26.02.2014Flood insurance
This note outlines issues relating to flood insurance within the UK.

Research Papers

20.11.2013CAP reform 2014-2020: EU Agreement and Implementation in the UK and in Ireland
A new CAP refrorm package has been agreed for 2014-2020. This paper sets out the reactions and emerging implementation decisions of the four countries of the UK, and also of Ireland.
12.03.2013Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
This paper complements Library Research Paper 12/79 on the Energy Bill 2012-13. It covers the Bill's Second Reading and Committee Stages. The Bill seeks to implement electricity market reform and introduces 'contracts for difference' to support all forms of low carbon generation, including nuclear. Government amendments made during Committee Stage related to cheaper energy tariffs and setting a decarbonisation target.
13.12.2012Energy Bill
The Energy Bill [Bill 100 of 2012-13] seeks to implement 'electricity market reform' and through this achieve 'secure, clean and affordable' electricity supplies. The Bill was introduced to the Commons on 29 November 2012 and will have its Second Reading debate on 19 December 2012. A draft Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
30.10.2012Antarctic Bill
This Private Member's Bill makes provision for expeditions in Antarctica to have contingency plans to deal with environmental emergencies.
10.11.2010Sustainable Livestock Bill. Bill 5 of 2010-11 Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill. Bill 12 of 2010-11
The Sustainable Livestock Bill aims to reduce the environmental impacts of livestock production in the UK. It also aims to amend the way agricultural subsidies are used to make them more environmentally friendly. It includes a duty to give consideration to supporting sustainable practices and consumption through public procurement of livestock produce. The Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill would create a duty on the Secretary of State to prepare a Code for Sustainable Food to promote the procurement of healthy and sustainable food by public bodies. This could be made compulsory if uptake was not extensive enough.

Select Committee Reports

14.09.2011The impact of UK overseas aid on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation....
Government response. Environmental Audit Select Committee; Department for International Development report [Commons]
13.07.2011Green Investment Bank.
Government response. Environmental Audit Select Committee; Treasury report [Commons]
13.07.2011Joint Nature Conservation Committee and JNCC Support Co.
Joint Nature Conservation Committee report [Commons]
22.06.2011The impact of UK overseas aid on environmental protection and climate change adaptation and mitigation....
Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]
18.05.2011Embedding sustainable development: the Government's response.
Government response. Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House recognises the importance of children having regular contact with the natural environment; congratulates the RSPB for its Every Child Outdoors research, which highlights ...
That this House acknowledges that advanced biofuel technologies could play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions, providing energy security for the UK, managing waste and creating ...
That this House welcomes the recent announcements from the Government regarding biofuels, but continues to have concerns over the negative impacts of current biofuels on people, food ...
That this House is dismayed that, despite the statement on page 17 of the Coalition Agreement that `We will introduce measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal ...
That this House congratulates Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Channel 4 for highlighting the wasteful discarding of marketable fish at sea; commends the Scottish fishing industry for ...

Lords Library Notes

28.01.2013Antarctic Bill (HL Bill 76 of 2012-13)
The Antarctic Bill would implement Annex VI (the 'Liability Annex') to the Antarctic Treaty's Environmental Protocol and sets out measures to reduce risks of environmental emergencies in Antarctica. It would also make a number of changes to the Antarctic Act 1994 to give additional protection to the Antarctic environment. This Library Note provides background information in advance of the Bill's second reading in the House of Lords on 1 February 2013.
08.01.2010Debate on 14th January: The Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. LLN 2010/001
Debate on 14th January: The Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the debate to be held on Thursday 14th January: 'To call attention to the outcome of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change' The UN Conference on Climate Change took place in Copenhagen from 7th-19th December 2009. This Note explains the significance of the Conference in the context of previous international agreements on climate change, sets out the major disagreements that marred the negotiating process in Copenhagen and summarises the key elements contained in the final Copenhagen Accord. It considers analysis of the Accord's achievements and shortcomings, and summarises the reactions of key nations and interest groups.

POST Papers

23.07.2013Invasive Alien Plant Species
Some alien plant species can become invasive and have detrimental ecological, social and economic effects. This POSTnote summarises debate over the risks posed by such plant species and the policy frameworks and measures for addressing these risks.
06.06.2013Environmental Impact of Tidal Barrages
A tidal energy barrage across the Severn Estuary could produce up to 5% of the UK's electricity demand. It would help meet renewable energy targets but would have significant environmental impacts. This POSTnote summarises evidence on environmental impacts associated with the operation of tidal energy barrages and the effectiveness of compensatory measures.
05.02.2013Biodiversity & Planning Decisions
Built developments and mineral extraction can bring social benefits. However, if developments decrease biodiversity there could be a net loss of human well-being. Planning policy is devolved and this POSTnote sets out how the information on impacts of proposed developments on biodiversity is given to planners in England. It also summarises approaches to enhance biodiversity and avoid, mitigate and compensate for negative impacts.
18.01.2013Biodiversity in UK Overseas Territories
The UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) support a diverse variety of habitats ranging from ice fields and rocky islands to coral reef atolls and tropical forests. This POSTnote summarises the challenges to conservation management and halting biodiversity loss in UKOTs, as required under international agreements.
21.12.2012Plant-made Pharmaceuticals
The use of genetically modified (GM) plants to produce pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines is an emerging technology that offers a low-cost, large-scale alternative to current methods. This POSTnote looks at recent advances in, and the benefits of, the technology, and analyses the associated biosafety and regulatory issues.
17.09.2012Water Resource Resilience
The availability of water resources is fundamental for society and economic activities. This POSTnote describes the reasons for uncertainties in water resource availability for future supply and demand and possible responses to managing these risks in the medium term.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses