The government is to today introduce its landmark Environment Bill to Parliament.
The bill aims to ensure England maintains and improves its environmental protections as it leaves the EU by enshrining environmental principles in domestic law and introducing measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore natural habitats.
The government says it will also create new legally-binding targets, establish a new independent Office for Environmental Protection to uphold environmental standards, accelerate progress towards tackling climate change and introduce charges to discourage the use of certain single-use plastic items.
It is intended to ensure the environment “is at the heart of all government policymaking” and to ensure politicians and government departments are held accountable if they fail to uphold their environmental duties.
The government will also promise to set a legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter and said it will have the power to force carmakers to recall vehicles if they do not meet relevant environmental standards.
The bill will also drive biodiversity, ensure new homes are delivered sustainably, protect trees, better manage waste and safeguard water resources.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Our natural environment is a vital shared resource and the need to act to secure it for generations to come is clear.
“That’s why our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate.”