Secretary of State for the Environment, Theresa Villiers MP, will today reintroduce the Environment Bill into Parliament. The Bill features two main changes to the previous version, published before the General Election.
A significant change is the commitment to a two-yearly review of the significant developments in international legislation on the environment which will be factored into the Environmental Improvement Plan and environmental target setting process. This is to ensure environmental legislation stays in line with developments.
The Bill also introduces a requirement for current and future Ministers to make a statement to Parliament identifying environmental impacts of all new environmental primary legislation.
The second significant change is the introduction of powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries.
As included in the previous version, the Environment Bill sets out a legally-binding target setting process and establishes a new independent Office for Environmental Protection to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities. Biodiversity net gain will also be mandated for development.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:
We are facing climate change and our precious natural environment is under threat. We need to take decisive action.
We have set out our pitch to be a world leader on the environment as we leave the EU and the Environment Bill is a crucial part of achieving this aim. It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste…
We will be setting out our response to the Bill shortly.