The UK Government claims that a new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will safeguard environment protections as we leave the EU.
A consultation has started today on the contents of the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, which will establish a world-leading body to hold government to account for environmental outcomes.
The body will support the Government’s commitment to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than that in which we inherited it.
It will provide scrutiny and advice as we protect and enhance our precious landscapes, wildlife and natural assets and would be able to hold government to account on environmental legislation.
The Government is also consulting on its intention to require ministers to produce – and then have regard to – a statutory and comprehensive policy statement setting out how they will apply core environmental principles as they develop policy and discharge their responsibilities.
Currently environmental decisions made in the UK – from improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species – are overseen by the European Commission and underpinned by a number of these principles, such as the precautionary principle, sustainable development and the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
While these principles are already central to government environmental policy, they are not set out in one place besides the EU treaties. The new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will ensure governments continue to have regard to important environmental principles through the policy statement, which would be scrutinised by Parliament.
The consultation seeks views on whether or not the principles to be contained in the policy statement should be listed in primary legislation.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks.