Government's Environmental Bill needs greater independence, say MPs

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
The EFRA report concluded that the draft bill does not match current environmental protections provided by the EU
If it is the case that "the government has made a real attempt to establish a robust framework for ...

Posted by: ,

Government’s post-Brexit environmental watchdog will need greater independence and sharper teeth, according to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA).

The criticism was made as part of an inquiry into the draft Environment (Principles and Governance), which sets out how to maintain environmental standards after we leave the European Union.

It concluded that the draft bill does not match current environmental protections provided by the EU, despite promises to surpass them.

Promises within the bill include setting up a new environmental watchdog body, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), to deliver functions currently provided by European institutions.

Yet the Committee argued that the OEP could not work independently from government.

It recommended that all board membership decisions of the OEP should require the consent of the EFRA Committee and government should commit to a budgetary framework in the bill.

To strengthen the OEP’s enforcement powers, EFRA also recommended the OEP should be able to issue emergency and interim measures in urgent faces of environmental harm.

The draft bill could also lead to a possible gap in climate change law, given that all climate change legislation is enforced by the EU but will not be included in the remit of the new watchdog.

Neil Parish, chair of EFRA Committee, said the bill leads to a regression on current standards.

He said: “There is also little point in setting up an environmental watchdog if it is unable to fulfil its essential function of holding the government to account. The new watchdog must not solely be a creature of government but needs real independence.

“Although the government has made a real attempt to establish a robust framework for environmental governance, the draft Bill clearly fails to meet its own ambition to ‘ensure the environment is even better protected in future’ as we exit the EU.”


This material is protected by MA Business Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments
If it is the case that "the government has made a real attempt to establish a robust framework for environmental governance" but it has failed to meet its own environmental ambitions - why? how can this be? surely that means that it has not tried hard enough? who/what is in the way? Please tell.

Posted By: ,
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.