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Last edited 20 Dec 2018
|On 19 December 2018, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published draft clauses on environmental principles and governance.|
The draft clauses will be part of a broader Environment Bill introduced early in the second session of parliament, which will include legislative measures to take direct action to address the biggest environmental priorities:
- air quality;
- protection and enhancement of landscapes,
- wildlife and habitats;
- handling of resources and waste,
- management of surface, ground and waste water.
The creation of an Environment Bill was announced by the Prime Minister in July, and is intended to put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government, creating a new framework for environmental governance.
An independent body will provide scrutiny and advice, and hold government to account on the development and implementation of environmental law and policy. The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will be a statutory environmental body that will be able to take legal action to enforce the implementation of environmental law where necessary, replacing the current oversight of the European Commission.
The draft Bill proposes making it a legal requirement for the government to have a plan for improving the environment, to monitor and report annually to Parliament on progress and to update it at least every 5 years. The 25 Year Environment Plan, published in January, will become the first such plan.
Environment Secretary, Michael Gove said the clauses; “…set out how we will create a pioneering new system of green governance, placing our 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing. We will explore options for strong targets to improve our environment, and provisions on air quality, waste and water resource management, and restoring nature.”
John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC said; "The Draft Environment Bill represents some welcome ambition from government. Our built environment has a huge impact on nature and biodiversity, and ensuring we protect and enhance our natural assets is vital, not least for our own health and wellbeing. This bill should give clarity to construction and property businesses on environmental principles and provide the policy certainty to raise the bar on standards.”
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