Credit: Tallie Robinson, via Unsplash

The Office for Environmental Protection, a public body set up under the Environment Act 2021, has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill Committee with a series of recommendations.

The Bill, which was introduced to parliament at first reading on 22 September 2022, is currently making its way through the House of Commons.

Dean Russell MP (Cons), the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, spoke for the government at the Bill’s second reading on 25 October 2022, saying that the Bill represents “the culmination of the Government’s work to untangle the United Kingdom from nearly 50 years of EU membership” and that the Bill would “create a more agile and innovative regulatory environment that would not have been possible were we still a member of the European Union”.

For the Bill to become law, it will need to pass through both Houses of Parliament. It is currently at Committee stage in the House of Commons. After this it will need to pass Third reading and then be sent to the House of Lords to repeat much of the same process as in the Commons. It should then complete its final stages and be sent for Royal Assent by the King.

Speaking in support of its recommendations, the Chair of the OEP, Dame Glenys Stacey, said:

“If done well, this review could make environmental law better. But done badly, or rushed unduly, it could compound environmental problems and create new uncertainties and burdens.

“Rushed law-making is not conducive to addressing environmental problems that are difficult, complex, inter-connected and long-term. It runs the risk of undermining the UK Government’s own environmental ambitions and international standing.

“Hundreds of environmental laws could be revoked or amended under the Bill. These laws are critical to solving pressing challenges such as nature depletion and the quality of air and water and marine environments. Worryingly, the Bill does not offer any safety net, there is no requirement to maintain existing levels of environmental protection.”

In a high-level paper published this week relating to the Environment Act 2021, IEMA has called on the government to provide clarity around the relationships between the long-term environmental targets framework, the environmental principles policy statement and the role of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP)

Dame Glenys spoke on IEMA’s Greening the news podcast in December 2021, where she requested that IEMA members share their views on the Office for Environmental Protection’s first strategic vision. You can listen to that podcast here.

IEMA made a submission to the consultation and reflected on the OEP’s response, setting out concerns primarily around its resourcing. Both the submission and response can be found here.


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