The UK government has released the Environment Bill after it passed through parliament last month. The seven parts covered in the Bill include environmental governance, waste and resource efficiency, air quality, water and nature, and conservation covenants.
The Bill will bring into UK law environmental protections and recovery, with the government promising to put the environment at the centre of policy making.
The Bill sets out the framework for statutory monitoring, planning and reporting – to drive short term progress using a “triple lock” system:
- The government must have an Environmental Improvement Plan, setting out the steps it intends to take to improve the environment and review it at least every five years.
- The government must report on progress towards achieving targets every year.
- The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will hold the government to account on progress towards achieving targets and every year can recommend how it can make better progress, to which government must respond.
The Bill will embed five internationally recognised environmental principles in government policy-making so that these are factored in to policy development in a clear and evidence-based manner.