Queen unveils Environment Bill plans

14th October 2019

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Emma Murray

New legally binding targets for environmental improvement will be introduced in an Environment Bill over the next session of parliament, the Queen's Speech confirmed today.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Queen said that environmental principles will be enshrined in law for the first time, with measures introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic waste and restore habitats.

A “world-leading“ regulator will also be set up to scrutinise environmental law and policy after Brexit, investigate complaints, and take enforcement action when necessary.

Moreover, proposals will be brought forward to promote and protect animal welfare, including the banning of trophy hunting imports.

“My ministers remain committed to protecting and improving the environment for future generations,“ the Queen said.

“My government will ensure that it continues to play a leading role in global affairs. It will prioritise tackling climate change and ensuring that all girls have access to 12 years of quality education.“

The Queen added that the government would work to implement new regimes for fisheries, agriculture and trade, “seizing the opportunities“ that arise from leaving the EU.

New building standards will also be brought forward, while a 'national infrastructure strategy' will be introduced to improve transport and energy systems.

IEMA chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, said that a new Environment Bill is an important opportunity to “put sustainability at the heart of the UK's economic model“.

“We warmly welcome the announcement of a landmark Environment Bill in the government's forthcoming legislative programme,“ he continued.

“We urgently need a comprehensive legal framework to give the long-term certainty needed to tackle the significant environmental challenges we face, and welcome the commitment to set legally binding targets to address air pollution, plastic waste, biodiversity loss and to protect our precious water resources.

“We look forward to reviewing the bill in detail, with a view to ensuring the proposals match the ambition needed to create a world-leading environmental constitution.“

More detail on the proposals is expected tomorrow.

Image credit: ©iStock

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