A bill with ambition

27th March 2019

P9 martin baxter

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Corporate governance ,
  • Central government ,
  • Politics & Economics


Peter Christopher Birch

IEMA's work on the forthcoming Environment Bill is gathering pace, with only a relatively short period of time left before it is due to be put before parliament.

There are two key elements to our work. First, putting forward suggested improvements to the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill in order to address key weaknesses, including:

  • Closing the loopholes on environmental principles (particularly the derogations for defence, taxation and public spending) and reducing the powers for the Secretary of State to disapply the principles through regulations
  • Strengthening how key environmental principles will be applied by ministers
  • Enhancing the independence of the proposed Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) by giving parliament a role in key appointments and resource allocation.

Second, as part of the Broadway Initiative, we're working on the more ambitious parts of the Bill – in particular the establishment of a process for setting legally binding long-term targets and milestones for the environment, together with national environmental improvement plans and local delivery mechanisms to achieve them. This has involved participating in roundtables with the Defra minister and key officials, as well as hosting a large-scale collaboration with 200 stakeholders from trade bodies, professional bodies, policy officials from across government, regulatory agencies, NGOs and businesses. A report with policy recommendations will shortly be published and sent to the prime minister and key cabinet ministers, seeking their support.

The Scottish government has published its Consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance in Scotland, which IEMA will respond to. In addition, the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has also set out its plans in relation to environmental principles and governance. We will be exploring where there will be a need to develop common approaches and arrangements for managing shared environmental resources, dealing with cross-UK home nation borders, and arrangements for ensuring and demonstrating UK-wide compliance with international environmental agreements. Interesting times!

Martin Baxter, IEMA chief policy advisor


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close