Environment Bill to give new powers to stop exports of plastic waste

The government has also committed to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health

The Big Zero report

New powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries will be put into place for the first time as part of the UK Government’s Environment Bill.

The legislation is expected to prevent harmful waste from being shipped while boosting the domestic recycling system in the country.

Producers will be required to take more responsibility for the products and materials they place on the market, including when they become waste, introducing a consistent approach to recycling and tackling waste crime.

The Bill, which aims to tackle the biggest environmental priorities, is said to “go beyond the EU’s level of ambition” and lead the way at home and abroad to deliver global environmental change.

It will introduce measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

The government has committed to set a legally binding target to reduce fine particulate matter, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health.

In addition, it includes a new commitment to review the biggest developments in environmental legislation from around the world every other year and use the findings in considering the UK’s own environmental plans.

The legislation will create legally binding environmental improvement targets and a new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities.

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.

“This will build on the UK’s strong track record as the first major economy to commit to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and will drive further action in this super year for the environment, culminating in the UK welcoming the world to the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in November in Glasgow.”

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