Government’s Environment Bill ‘not fit for purpose’

The Environmental Audit Committee has requested that a number of areas of the bill be reconsidered

The government’s Environment Bill is not fit for purpose, according to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC).

Chair of the EAC, Mary Creagh MP, has written to the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Theresa Villiers MP, to ask her to reconsider a number of areas of the bill.

In the letter, she questions the independence of the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), suggesting it would remain “fragile” as long as it relied on the discretion of Ministers.

She also questioned the ‘needlessly long timeframe’ required to set targets, claiming 2037 is “too little too late” and suggesting targets need to be set across a wider range of areas than just air quality, water, biodiversity, resource efficiency and waste reduction.

The EAC Chair has called for the urgent publication of a policy statement to accompany the Bill’s environmental principles and said: “The Environment Bill offers the government a chance to safeguard our environment for future generations but there remain glaring oversights in the Bill.

“The government has failed to set out its policy framework which would establish how the environmental principles will be used in practice – allowing them to avoid full scrutiny from Parliament.”

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