Environment Bill update
The Environment Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 26 February and is now at Committee stage, where a cross-party group of MPs, plus the environment minister, go through the Bill line by line and consider amendments, which will be considered by parliament.
To aid this process, a small number of evidence sessions are being held to inform the Committee’s scrutiny. As part of the work IEMA – home to the Broadway Initiative – is doing on the Bill, I gave evidence before the Committee in its opening session on 10 March.
Our position is that the Bill includes many governance elements that are needed as the UK leaves the EU, and we are broadly supportive of the measures put forward. However, the Bill could be improved in two ways: first, by enhancing coherence between different governance elements so they are mutually supportive and aligned; second, to complete the governance framework to link national targets and Environmental Improvement
Plans with local delivery mechanisms. Providing a top-to-bottom environmental governance framework would create the conditions to mobilise business investment in long-term environmental improvements.
At this point, scope for major change is limited; our best chance of securing improvements to the Bill is through targeted amendments that will genuinely improve long-term outcomes. We’ve been supporting MPs to table amendments that are consistent with our position, and will continue to advocate for improvements as the Bill enters the Lords later in the year.
We will keep members up to date on the Bill’s latest developments and potential implications through webinars and briefings as appropriate.