Government Bill to uphold environmental standards announced
A new draft bill to uphold environmental standards as Britain leaves the EU will be published this autumn, the government has confirmed.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said that the new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will ‘ensure environmental principles remain central to government policy’.
A consultation is now underway on the contents of the Bill, which will create an independent body to hold the government to account for outcomes. Subject to this consultation, the body could be responsible for:
• providing independent scrutiny and advice on existing and future government environmental law and policy
• responding to complaints about government’s delivery of environmental law
• holding government to account publicly over its delivery of environmental law and exercising enforcement powers where necessary.
“As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will not weaken environmental protections when we leave the EU. A new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will ensure core environmental principles remain central to government policy and decision-making,” explained Michael Gove.
“We will only achieve our aims by also creating a strong and objective voice that champions and enforces environmental standards. That’s why our Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will also create an independent and statutory watchdog. This will hold governments to account for delivering their commitments to the natural world.”
The consultation will run for 12 weeks and seeks views on the most effective way for the new body to hold the government to account. A public consultation will begin soon after the draft Bill is published in the autumn.