IOM3 welcomes environment bill for a greener future

IOM3
,
30 Jan 2020

The Environment Bill has been introduced to Parliament to better protect our natural environment for generations to come ahead of the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 January.

This landmark Bill enshrines key environmental principles in law and introduces measures to tackle air pollution, managing the UK’s resources and waste, meeting net-zero by 2050 and restoring and enhancing nature. For the first time, the Bill will create new powers enabling government to ban or restrict the export of polluting plastic waste to developing countries, which as well as preventing its irresponsible disposal will help boost the UK’s domestic recycling system.

IOM3 CEO Colin Church welcomed the new Bill, stating, ‘It is good to see the Government honouring its pledge to bring this Bill back after the election. Enshrining key environmental principles in law, placing the ambition of the 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing and creating a strong and independent oversight body are all essential steps.’

The Bill will:

  • Ensure the environment is at the heart of all government policy making and that this government – and future governments – are held to account if they fail to uphold their environmental duties, including meeting net-zero by 2050.
  • Better manage waste and implement key policy measures set out in the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy that will mean producers take more responsibility for the products and materials they place on the market, including when they become waste, as well as introducing a consistent approach to recycling, tackling waste crime, introduce a bottle deposit return schemes and more effective litter enforcement.
  • Introduce new charges for single use plastic items to minimise their use and incentivising reusable alternatives to reduce their environmental impact.
  • Improve air quality – by introducing measures to reduce pollution
  • restore and enhance nature – through ‘biodiversity net gain’

The Bill includes a new commitment to review the significant developments in international environmental legislation every two years and factor the findings into the environmental target setting process and Environmental Improvement Plan, both of which will be enshrined by law.

‘While there is much to like about the Bill and its attempts to tackle key environmental issues through for example penalising unrecyclable packaging, there is still room for improvement. The independence of the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) should be strengthened and there is work to do in the target setting process, for example. IOM3 looks forward to working with our partners to support MPs and peers in improving the Bill as it passes through Parliament. Together, we can help shape the legislation so that it provides a robust, long-term framework within which businesses and governments can invest to secure our environment,’ said Colin.

The OEP will hold the government to account on long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water and resource efficient and waste management as well as its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

For more information on the Bill, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-bill-sets-out-vision-for-a-greener-future

Press enquiries:

Natalie Daniels

Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)207 451 7395

Email: natalie.daniels@iom3.org

Policy enquries :

Rachel Stonehouse

Policy Research Fellow

Tel: +44 (0)207 451 7353

Email: rachel.stonehouse@iom3.org