Environment Bill: where are we now?
- Politics & Economics ,
The Environment Bill was published on 15 October – the first new environment act for a generation.
Its proposals are wide-ranging, covering: environmental governance; proposals for Northern Ireland; waste and resource efficiency; air quality and environmental recall; water; nature and biodiversity; and conservation covenants. Many of the specific legislative proposals IEMA has advocated have been brought forward, including a process for setting legally binding long-term environmental targets, extended producer responsibility for packaging waste, and biodiversity net gain for new developments. To develop such a broad package of measures at pace, against the backdrop of Brexit, is impressive, and a credit to those in Defra who have brought this together.
The Bill passed its second reading in Parliament on 28 October unopposed, although MPs acknowledged that improvements will be necessary to address weaknesses. However, the dissolution of Parliament for the general election on 12 December means that the Bill will need to be reintroduced by the next government.
The consensus among stakeholder groups is that this will happen. Timing is likely to depend on which party is in power and what their Brexit approach is. In the meantime, work is under way to identify and propose amendments needed to make the Bill 'world leading' and to translate the legislative provisions into actions on the ground.
We'll keep IEMA members up to date and involved in the next stages as they develop.
Image credit: iStock
We’re delighted to announce that this year marks our inaugural IEMA sustainability and environmental professionals’ conference, Connect 2021, which will be free and exclusive to IEMA members.
Over two million hectares of Brazilian rainforest could be legally converted to supply the UK with soy under a new anti-deforestation law proposed by the government, the WWF has found.
The government has announced a delay to the Environment Bill’s passage through Parliament, due to COVID-19 restrictions and a bottleneck of legislation making its way onto the statute book. It is expected that the Bill will receive significant interest in the Lords, and the pause means it will carry over into the next parliamentary session, rather than being rushed through without proper scrutiny, or risking being dropped.
The Environment Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 26 February and is now at Committee stage, where a cross-party group of MPs, plus the environment minister, go through the Bill line by line and consider amendments, which will be considered by parliament.