The UK Government has confirmed that it will not accept the majority of amendments to the Environment Bill made in the House of Lords.
One of the rejected amendments would have removed the power for Ministers to provide guidance to the Office of Environmental Projection (OEP) on its work, budget and appointments. Instead, the Government has reintroduced an amendment which would require this guidance to be put before Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Another significant rejection is an amendment that sought to limit the Secretary of State’s powers to amend the Habitats Regulations by ensuring it is only for the purposes of ” securing compliance with an international environmental obligation, or contributing to the favourable conservation status of species or habitats or the favourable condition of protected sites” and that it must follow public consultation and consultation with expert bodies and the OEP.
Ministers have also rejected an amendment to remove the exemption for the Ministry of Defence and Treasury to pay due regard to the bill’s environmental principles when making policy.
The House of Commons will debate the Bill today (20 October), but it is expected that the rejection of amendments will go ahead.