The UK Government has said that it will deliver the “most ambitious environmental programme” of any country on Earth as its Environment Bill moved a step closer today (26 Feb) with its Second Reading.
Opening the Environment Bill’s Second Reading, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the Bill is a “keystone” in the government’s vision to deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on Earth.
The Bill was introduced on 30 January and sets out to protect and improve the natural environment in the UK, legislating to ensure the environment is front and centre in our future policy making.
It [the Bill] will see us recycling more and wasting less, breathing cleaner air, planting trees, safeguarding forests, and supporting nature recovery as we work to tackle climate change and reach net zero emissions
To do this, government says it will:
- transform environmental governance and put environmental principles into law
- establish the new independent Office for Environmental Protection to hold the government to account on the environment
- introduce legally binding targets to drive action by this and all future governments to significantly improve air quality, nature, water, and resource and waste efficiency.
The Bill aims to enhance wildlife, tackle air pollution, transform how the UK manages its resources and waste, and “improve the resilience” of water supplies in a changing climate to ensure the UK protects and restores the natural environment.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The Prime Minster is clear – and so am I – we will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on Earth.
“This transformative Bill is at the heart of our work. It will see us recycling more and wasting less, breathing cleaner air, planting trees, safeguarding forests, and supporting nature recovery as we work to tackle climate change and reach net zero emissions.
“And this is just the start. 2020 is a massive year for our natural environment and the UK will take its place at the head of the world’s table when we host the COP 26 climate change conference in Glasgow, driving real change across the planet.”
Acting as one of the key vehicles for delivering the bold vision set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, it brings about “urgent and meaningful” action to tackle the environmental and climate crisis we are facing, the government says.
Today, just a few weeks after the Bill was introduced, the primary legislation is being brought forward for Second Reading in the House of Commons. This is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the new Bill.
The Bill sets a new and ambitious domestic framework for environmental governance as we maximise the opportunities created by leaving the European Union.
The Second Reading of the Environment Bill is due to conclude on Wednesday evening.
The Bill will then go to Committee Stage, with Report Stage and Third Reading following this, before transferring to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.
You can track the progress of the Environment Bill and read debates on all stages of the Bill’s passage on the Parliament website.