COMMONS

Committee brands aspects of Government’s Environment Bill ‘not fit for purpose’

24 October 2019

The Environmental Audit Committee’s Chair has today written to the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Theresa Villiers MP, to ask for reconsideration of several key areas during the passage of the Bill:

  • The independence of the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is called into question
  • The Committee calls for the urgent publication of a policy statement to accompany the Bill’s environmental principles
  • The Committee questions the ‘needlessly long timeframe’ to set targets in the Bill

 Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:

“The Environment Bill offers the Government a chance to safeguard our environment for future generations, but there remain glaring oversights in the Bill.

“The Government has failed to set out its policy framework which would establish how the environmental principles will be used in practice – allowing them to avoid full scrutiny from Parliament.

“We are concerned the independence of the Office for Environmental Protection remains fragile as long as it relies on the discretion of Ministers. We ask again for Government to consider the alternative governance model recommended in our pre-legislative report.

“Setting 2037 as the date to achieve environmental targets is too little too late. The Bill only sets target for air quality, water, biodiversity, and resource efficiency and waste reduction, but we need targets across all ten Environment Plan goals.  We are facing an ecological emergency, the time to act is now.”

Further information

Image: Evelyn Simak/geograph

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