Government publishes raft of green measures ahead of Johnson premiership
The UK government has today unveiled various commitments for its forthcoming Environment Act before Boris Johnson is sworn in as prime minister tomorrow.
The “firm positions” include the introduction of a deposit return scheme for drink containers by 2023, along with a mandatory biodiversity net gain requirement for new developments.
New extended producer responsibility schemes will also be implemented, as well as a simplified and consistent approach to household recycling across local authorities.
Moreover, the government plans to legislate on conservation covenants – a voluntary agreement by landowners to guarantee positive conservation – and will introduce new rules to improve water management.
Environment secretary, Michael Gove, said: “Our plans will improve air quality, restore habitats and increase biodiversity, strive towards a more circular economy and ensure we can manage our precious water resources.
“The measures in our Environment Bill will position the UK as a world leader, ensuring that after EU exit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government.”
Gove unveiled the new measures as Johnson was confirmed winner of the Conservative leadership contest, with the incoming prime minister expected to oversee a major Cabinet re-shuffle.
Sustainability body IEMA said that Johnson entering Number 10 marks a “new chapter” in the Brexit process, and that it would be vital for the government to establish a long-term framework for the environment.
Chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, said: “The new leader has an opportunity to put sustainability at the heart of the UK’s economic model.
“An economy that is fit for the future requires a long-term policy framework to deliver on the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, unlocking investment to support our future prosperity.”
Baxter went on to say that the education and vocational skills system would need to fully embed sustainability if the UK is to address its productivity gap and deliver net zero emissions by 2050.
“In schools and colleges, in apprenticeships and degrees, sustainability needs to be embedded in the curriculum, standards and qualifications to equip people with the skills to create a sustainable future," he continued.
"We look forward to working with the new government to build on work already underway on an ambitious new Environment Act, and to supporting the delivery of the UK’s 2050 net zero carbon target.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM