The second reading in Parliament of the Environment Bill offers an opportunity to complete the unfinished business of establishing a world-leading environmental governance framework for a post-Brexit UK.
The Environment Bill is a good start, with the potential to put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s economic model and catalyse the process of restoring our natural environment, tackling the climate crisis and making our communities more resilient to environmental change. While many of the key governance elements are included, it falls short of the ‘top to bottom’ governance framework needed to translate national targets into private sector investment and action on the ground.
Commenting before the Bill’s second reading, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor Martin Baxter said:
“Tackling the environmental challenges of our time – climate change, flooding, plastic waste, biodiversity loss, air pollution and more – requires a robust governance framework that puts society and the economy on a transition to a sustainable future.Our 5 key amendments will complete and connect the key elements of the Bill needed to generate long-term investment in improvements.”
At the centre of the Bill is an environmental governance framework which sets a process for setting legally binding environmental targets and creates a new Office for Environmental Protection to monitor progress and ensure public authorities comply with climate and environmental laws.
IEMA has worked with leading bodies from business, environment and professional institutions as part of the Broadway Initiative to encourage Government to come forward with an ambitious Environment Bill to enable all parts of society to play their part in achieving long term objectives for the environment.The five key amendments that would mobilise business investment in environmental improvements are:
- 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
About the Broadway Initiative
IEMA has been working as part of The Broadway Initiative to bring together a cross section of the main stakeholders and nationally recognised experts to generate ideas and proposals for world leading arrangements to govern the environment after EU exit. The purpose is to advise governments on how to enable all parts of society to play their part in achieving long term objectives for the environment.
Broadway Initiative members come from the worlds of business, NGOs, professional bodies, governance, policy making and academia.
Posted on 25th February 2020
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