IEMA proposes amendments to Environment Bill
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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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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.