Update, Monday 8 November
In the latest round of ‘ping pong’ between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Environment Bill returns to the House of Commons today.
Three important amendments remain open for debate. The good news is that there has been a compromise on an amendment which would strengthen powers to enforce vital green laws and this is a step forward.
Following the public outcry on sewage pollution the Government has brought forward an amendment to improve the Bill on this issue. This is definitely a change for the better, although campaigners remain unconvinced that it is enough.
However, disappointingly, the Government has rejected the Lords’ amendments on independence of the new green watchdog – we are still hoping for clear statements in Parliament to ensure this body is independent for the long term.
It is rumoured that the Government wants the Bill to gain Royal Assent (when it becomes law) before the end of COP26 on Friday.
The world is still watching… and it is still far from clear that the final Bill will be the “momentous new Environment Bill” which will “guide our country towards a cleaner and greener future,” as promised by our Prime Minster Boris Johnson back in 2019.