Changes to UK’s Environmental Law on the way!

Just before the UK Parliament closed for its summer recess, George Eustice, the  Environment Secretary, set out his vision for a green recovery. For details of his full speech made on 20 July 2020 click HERE

Here are some key points from his speech:

New policy paper preceding the Environment Bill
“….so we will shortly be publishing a paper that sets out our approach to setting long-term targets on biodiversity, waste, water, and air quality through the new Environment Bill, so they are established in time by October 2022”.

Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection
“We will shortly be launching the appointment campaign for the first Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection so that they will be in place to lead a new Public Body in 2021″.

Pilot for 4 urban and rural areas which were hit the hardest by coronavirus 
“….starting this autumn, we’ll be investing a further £4m in a two-year pilot to bring green prescribing to four urban and rural areas that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus and then we want to scale that project up”.

Changes to Environmental Impact Assessments 
“Do Local Authorities adopt a consistent approach to the screening process through Environmental Impact Assessment? Do they have the capability to engage over the lifetime of a project?  Later this autumn we will be launching a new consultation on changing our approach to environmental assessment and mitigation in the planning system”.

New Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment 
“….today I can announce a £5m pilot on establishing a new Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment”.

Comments by Planning Resources (the RTPI magazine)

Eustice went on to say: “Later this autumn, we will be launching a new consultation on changing our approach to environmental assessment and mitigation in the planning system.

Eustice said the government would “shortly” publish a paper setting out its “approach to setting long-term targets on biodiversity, waste, water, and air quality through the new Environment Bill, so they are established in time by October 2022”.

Over the weekend, 20 environmental and development charities including the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to avoid a “deregulatory race to the bottom” in his push to make fresh changes to the planning system.

In response to Eustice’s speech, Crispin Truman,  chief executive of CPRE, said: “For nature and the countryside to truly be at the centre of our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the government must ensure that we strengthen protections and avoid the damaging short term gains that deregulation would bring.

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