New UK Environmental Bill Introduced to Parliament

The UK Government has introduced a landmark Environmental Bill, aimed at tackling both current and future environmental issues that the UK faces. It aims to ensure that the UK maintains and improves the environmental protections that have been ensured through membership of the European Union.

The Bill looks to enshrine environmental principles into law, introducing measures that will lead to improvements in air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habits for plants and wildlife. Specifically the Bill will create legally-binding environmental improvement targets, as well as the creation of a new Office for Environmental Protection. This will scrutinise the UKs environmental policy and law, investigate complains and take enforcement action against public authorities. Furthermore, the office will hold the government accountable in regards to the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and be responsible for climate change legislation.

The key areas of interest for the Bill include:

Environmental Governance:

Creation of the new environment protection office, setting legally-binding targets and embedding environmental principles in Government decision-making.

Resource and Waste Management:

An expansion of producer responsibility for waste disposal for goods producers, reducing long-term waste and creating incentives for those who re-use materials aiding the move to a circular economy.

Air Pollution:

Creation of legally-binding targets to ensure emissions of substances detrimental to human health, such as fine particulate matters, are limited. Co-operation between local authorities will also aim to be increased, building upon the Governments Clean Air Strategy.

Sustainable Water Resources:

The Bill will deliver the aims of the 25 Year Environment Plan, ensuring access to clean water for all citizens and businesses, whilst enabling better cooperation between water companies and their set boundaries. New measures will be introduced to ensure prevention of water from the environment where seen as  detrimental.

Enhancing Nature and Green Spaces:

The Bill aims to address the continual decline of British flora and fauna, setting targets to expand biodiversity. A key area of conflict is the need to expand housing production and the Bill aims to increase cooperation between different governmental departments and bodies such as DEFRA, the Environment Agency and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The Bill is set to become legislation in the near-future, creating a new era for environmental legislation with specific emphasis on improvements. The Bill was to be introduced to Parliament on Tuesday 15th October 2019.