Sustainability body IEMA has proposed a series of amendments to the UK government's flagship Environment Bill after it was reintroduced to parliament today.
The bill intends to enshrine environmental principles into UK law after Brexit, and introduces a framework for legally binding targets to tackle biodiversity loss, air pollution, waste, and improve water quality.
It also creates a new watchdog to monitor and enforce environmental law, and a commitment to review improvement plans every two years.
IEMA welcomed the legislation, but said work is needed to turn a good bill into one that is world leading, and proposed five key changes to mobilise investment in environmental improvement.
• Objectives to bind the bill's policy and governance processes into a commonly understood direction • Transparent criteria and processes for setting targets and interim targets • Requirements that mechanisms are in place to enable targets to be met • Provision to enable consistent local environmental planning and prioritisation towards the long-term targets • Provision of a simplified business planning mechanism for organisations to factor the environment into their activities.
IEMA chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, said: “The Environment Bill has the potential to enable all parts of society and the economy to make significant contributions to improving the natural environment and tacking the climate crisis.
Parliament must take the opportunity to turn a good gill into one that's world-leading, and we will work with MPs and peers to help government achieve its global leadership ambition and unlock significant private sector investment.
IEMA has worked with leading environmental, business and professional bodies as part of the Broadway Initiative to help the government deliver an ambitious bill.
Environment secretary Theresa Villiers said today that the legislation “sets a gold standard“ for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and slashing plastic waste.
However, the WWF called for a new chapter in the bill that tackles the UK's “global footprint“, addressing how consumption at home impacts the environment overseas.
This would include a target to reduce the UK's global footprint, a legally binding goal to remove deforestation from supply chains by the end of this year, and a commitment to develop a 'due diligence' obligation.
If the UK government wants to truly live up to being a world leader on the environment, it needs to take urgent action on our global impact, said WWF executive director of advocacy and campaigns, Katie White.
If government legislates, it levels the playing field – providing business with the confidence to invest in cleaning up and driving action from those falling behind.“
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