The government is to launch the new environmental watchdog for England on an interim basis ahead of its formal establishment as part of the Environment Bill.
Under the latest plans set out, the new Interim Office for Environmental Protection will be set up from July in non-statutory form to provide independent oversight of the government’s environmental progress and to accelerate the foundation of the full body.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The Environment Bill will establish the world-class Office for Environmental Protection. Protecting and improving our environment is an important priority and that is why we are taking immediate action to ensure that the body can start its vital work at the earliest possible opportunity.”
The new Interim Office will be able to produce and publish an independent assessment of progress in relation to the implementation of the government’s 25-Year Environment Plan, develop its strategy including its enforcement policy and receive complaints from members of the public about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law.
In addition, it will be able to take decisions on operational matters such as staff recruitment, accommodation and facilities as well as determine approaches for how the Office will form and operate, establishing its character, ways of working and voice.
Dame Glenys Stacey added: “I am delighted at this decision. It means we can make rapid progress now, in establishing the organisation. The sooner we are up and running, the sooner we can deliver as intended and so begin to make those tangible and positive differences to the environment that we so wish to see. It is excellent news.”