Today, the Environment Minister Michael Gove has set out the government’s plans for the full Environment Bill in an updated summer policy statement (this link will open on the gov.uk site). We are delighted to see a commitment to introduce many of the measures that we have been asking for.
For the first time in over 20 years, the government plans to introduce a new Environment Bill later this year. Our hopes for a strong and ambitious Environment Act were in doubt last December as we had grave concerns that the draft bill was inadequate.
Since then, members and supporters of BBOWT and the Wildlife Trusts have written hundreds of letters and visited MPs to explain what is needed to protect nature now and into the future.
The measures we have asked for that appear in the new policy statement include:
- A promise to legislate to mandate biodiversity ‘net gain’ in future developments.
- An Office for Environmental Protection which will have the power to undertake its own investigations at its own instigation and be able to take central Government and public bodies to court for any failure to abide by environmental law, if necessary.
- A new framework for Local Nature Recovery to help support the Nature Recovery Network and better direct investment in the environment and green infrastructure, creating places that are richer in wildlife and provide wider benefits for local communities.
This landmark Environment Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament this autumn. We urge the new Prime Minister to hold these commitments and place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government.
Thank you so much to all our members and supporters who contacted their MPs to ask for these measures to be included. We are delighted that your voice is being heard.