Environment Act passed to crack down on water and air pollution

The act will also look to cut waste, protect biodiversity and increase recycling rates

A new Environment Act has been passed to improve air and water quality, tackle waste, increase recycling rates and protect biodiversity.

The law will halt the decline of species by 2030, require new developments to create new habitats for nature and address deforestation outside of the UK.

The Act will be enforced by an independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – to hold government and public bodies accountable for their actions and enforcement of protecting the environment.

Stronger action can now be taken on deforestation, as well as towards water companies that pollute rivers, waterways or coastlines with sewage.

The government will also now be required to publish plans to reduce sewage discharges by September of next year and report the progress to Parliament.

Environment Secretary George Eustace said: “The Environment Act will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth.

“It will halt the decline of species by 2030, clean up our air and protect the health of our rivers, reform the way in which we deal with waste and tackle deforestation overseas. We are setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

The Act has been welcomed by bodies including Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, commented: “This landmark Act will give us more of the tools and the momentum we need to really put nature on the road to recovery during this decade, enabling us to have more, better, bigger and connected areas of natural habitats, bringing a range of practical benefits and permitting more people to enjoy the wonders of the natural world, while improving wider environmental quality at the same time.”

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, added: “It is good to see these laws pass as we work to protect the natural world, help people to stay safe from flooding and support communities, businesses and government to make the country more resilient to climate shocks.”

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