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Lords debates Environment Bill

8 June 2021

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Members of the Lords discussed the main principles and purpose of the Environment Bill during second reading, on Monday 7 June.

The Environment Bill aims to make provisions to improve the environment.

Lords debate

The House of Lords discussed the main issues in the bill during the second reading debate. 

The bill was welcomed but members argued for stronger provisions to address the urgent challenge of climate change. In particuar in relation to issues including: 

  • the marine environment and water quality
  • air quality and transport policy
  • depleted biodiversity.

Targets and powers

Many members questioned how the government will ensure the bill's targets will be met, in light of previous missed targets. They said specific interim targets (as well as long term targets) would be needed to hold the government to account.

Thay also highlighted the need to give the Office for Environmental Protection (OFP) sufficient powers to fulfil its role.

Storm damage and decline of nature

The government outlined amendments it will put forward at committee stage to:

  • reduce the harm from storm overflows to rivers, waterways and coastlines
  • require a legally binding target on species abundance for 2030 to halt the decline of nature (acting on the recommendations of the Dasgupta Review).

Members taking part

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Conservative), Minister for the Environment, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government.

Members speaking in the debate included:

Get involved

Watch or read the debate

Catch up on Parliament TV. A transcript of the debate is available in House of Lords Hansard.

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library briefing on the Environment Bill.

Next steps

Committee stage, the first chance for line by line examination of the bill, is scheduled to begin on Monday 21 June.

Image: Chris Walker on Unsplash