"Landmark" Environment Bill introduced
The government will introduce its 'transformative' Environment Bill to Parliament today (15 October) to tackle the biggest environmental priorities such as air pollution and plastic waste.
The Bill will help ensure that England maintains and improves its environmental protections as it leaves the EU. While it applies only to England, more than half of its measures are designed to apply across the UK, with the consent of devolved administrations.
Legislation will create, legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. By also championing nature-based solutions, the Bill demonstrates our commitment to tackle climate change
The Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech and introduced today, will ensure the environment is at the heart of all government policy making and that the government is held to account if they fail to uphold their environmental duties, including meeting net-zero by 2050, and wider long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency established under the Bill.
The Bill aims to improve air quality by setting a legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and by increasing local powers to address sources of air pollution. The government will also be empowered to mandate manufacturers to recall vehicles when they do not meet the relevant environmental standards.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: "Our natural environment is a vital shared resource and the need to act to secure it for generations to come is clear.
"That’s why our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate.
"Crucially, it also ensures that after Brexit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government, both now and in the future."