Environment Bill moves a step closer to becoming law

The Bill aims to tackle the biggest environmental priorities and now progresses to the Committee stage for further scrutiny

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The UK’s Environment Bill has moved a step closer to becoming law following its second reading by MPs yesterday.

The Bill, which aims to tackle the biggest environmental priorities, now progresses to the Committee stage for further scrutiny and onto the next stages of the Parliamentary process.

It introduces a raft of measures to improve water and air quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore natural habitats

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) says it aims to ensure the UK maintains and improves its environmental protections following Brexit.

The legislation will also create legally-binding environmental improvement targets and establish a new independent Office for Environmental Protection to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities if necessary.

The Office’s remit will include all climate change legislation, enabling it to hold government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Opening the second reading, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “This government recognises the profound importance of the great environmental challenges of our time. We are the first government to set the goal that this generation should leave the natural environment in a better state than it was bequeathed to us. And this is the first government to make a legally binding commitment to become a net zero carbon economy.

“This is a truly landmark piece of legislation, enshrining environmental principles in law, requiring this government and its successors to demanding and legally binding targets and creating a world-leading environmental watchdog to hold them to account.”