The Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) has now been legally formed, following the passing of the Environment Act 2021 by the UK Parliament last week.
In a statement the OEP said this is an ‘important step’ towards the OEP becoming a fully operational and independent organisation, ‘standing ready to hold government and public authorities to account against their commitments and environmental law’.
‘We will now start the transition to our functional independence in the New Year,’ it said.
At that stage it is expected Parliament will take the steps needed for its functions and powers to be made available. The OEP will then be fully established.
‘Once empowered, we will be able to monitor and report on environmental law and advise government on legal and other environmental issues,’ it said/
‘We will investigate suspected failures in the application of environmental law and enforce compliance with the law by public authorities when needed. We will also review and report on government’s progress in meeting environmental goals and targets. ’
In the interim, it continues to develop a ‘strategic approach’, and are preparing to consult on its strategy as soon as its functions are enabled in law.