A new Environment Act for the UK

A new Environment Act for the UK

Bowdown woods by Julie Dickson

Campaigning for a new Environment Act

As Britain prepares to exit the EU now is a critical time to influence the future of Britain’s natural environment for years to come, and ensure that existing environmental protections are safeguarded and enhanced. 

As part of the Greener UK Coalition, we and other environmental NGOs are urging the government to enact a new and ambitious Environment Act that ensures regulation, investment, public spending and practical action work effectively together. This Act should include:

  • an independent watchdog with the power to take the government to court 
  • retention of environmental principles currently enshrined in EU legislation
  • a requirement that all local authorities publish ‘nature recovery maps’ which would form a national ‘Nature Recovery Network’.

Read about The Wildlife Trust's plans for a Nature Recovery Network

We believe that this Environment Act should commit future governments to increasing the diversity and abundance of our wildlife and to improving the health of our air, soils, rivers and seas. It would be about nature’s recovery and rebuilding society’s connection to the natural world.

Following our work and pressure, the first part of a draft Environment Bill was published in December but it left a lot to be desired. The Bill included environmental principles but did not make them binding on the government and public authorities, and it included an Office for Environmental Protection but gave it insufficient powers to adequately hold the government to account and protect our environment. The Bill also completely left out Nature Recovery Networks.

Royal Assent for the Environment Bill is anticipated  in the autumn of 2019. Therefore, between now and the summer of 2019, we have a window of opportunity to build a groundswell of support for nature’s recovery from people across the country, and to create political pressure to ensure that the aforementioned concerns are reflected in the Environment Bill.

What can I do to make sure the Environment Bill protects wildlife?

We need to make sure the message that the wildlife and the environment matter to people is heard loud and clear by the government. If you write to or meet with your MP, you can let them know how important wildlife and the environment are to you. 

Wilder Future

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