Environment Bill pre-legislative scrutiny
Pre-legislative scrutiny of the government’s draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill is under way, with three parliamentary select committees receiving evidence.
IEMA has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Environmental Audit select committees. In addition, IEMA’s chief policy advisor Martin Baxter gave oral evidence before the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee.
At this point, the draft bill is only the first part of what the prime minister promises will be an ambitious new Environment Act. While attention is given to the government’s initial proposals, particularly the proposed powers and duties of the new Office for Environmental Protection and the way that core environmental principles will shape future policy, IEMA has been focusing on broader aspects of the bill. We are pushing for the bill to include:
- Clear long-term objectives for achieving and maintaining a safe and healthy natural environment and good environmental quality, and effectively managing, using and improving the natural environment to meet society’s needs
- A process for setting targets, milestone and metrics for meeting those objectives and for that process to be multi-stakeholder and genuinely participative
- National Environmental Improvement Plans that set out how successive governments will achieve the long-term targets
- A genuinely independent body to advise parliament on progress towards achieving objectives and targets and for monitoring and enforcing, where necessary, implementation of environmental law by public authorities
- Proposals for ensuring, at a local level, a single place-based environmental improvement plan which integrates all the current local environmental plans and initiatives into a coherent whole and provides clarity to communities and businesses on what needs to be protected and what needs to be enhanced
- Policy that, as a whole, coherently and consistently encourages environmentally responsible practices for all types and sizes of business.