Legally-binding targets are to be set by the end of 2022 to ensure the UK combats the environmental and climate challenges it is facing.
The government has announced it will introduce at least one long-term target in four priority areas to drive lasting environmental improvements – these targets will help bring cleaner air, cleaner water, less waste and more biodiversity.
As far as air quality is concerned, targets will focus on reducing public exposure to fine particulate matter, an air pollutant thought to be significantly harmful to public health.
Potential targets will also look to reduce the volume of residual waste and plastic pollution, restore natural habitats and improve marine biodiversity.
The government adds it will also look to set targets to tackle pollution from agriculture and wastewater to improve water quality – introduced to underpin the Environment Bill, the ‘ambitious’ targets will also apply to any future governments.
Defra says it will collaborate with independent experts and stakeholders to make sure these goals are strong, meaningful and environmental outcome-focused.
Once proposed targets are developed, businesses, communities and the public will have an opportunity to share their views in response to a consultation, which is expected in early 2022.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The targets we set under our landmark Environment Bill will be the driving force behind our bold action to protect and enhance our natural world, guaranteeing real and lasting progress on some of the biggest environmental issues facing us today.
“I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.”