Environment Bill

The government introduces the Environment Bill to Parliament to help tackle environmental priorities.

The Environment Bill will put the environment at the centre of policy making to make sure that there is a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation. Environmental principles will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore natural habitats.

The Environment Bill includes details on:

  • Creating a new governance framework for the environment;
  • Creating a framework for legally binding targets;
  • Moving towards a circular resources and waste economy;
  • Improving air quality;
  • Securing our water services;
  • Enhancing our green spaces;
  • Updating laws on chemicals (REACH).

While the Bill only applies to England, more than half of its measures e.g. driving up recycling rates, are designed to apply across the UK.

Key areas of the Environment Bill where changes will bring benefits include:

  • Environmental governance:
    • The Bill will create a world-leading system for environmental governance;
    • The Officer for Environmental Protection, a new public body is formed, holding the government and other public bodies to account on fulfilling their obligations on the environment;
    • By setting legally-binding targets, the UK will show global environmental leadership;
    • Environmental principles will be embedded in government decision making, combined with obligation to publish environmental improvement plans.
  • New directions for resource and waste management:
    • The Bill signals great change in how waste will be dealt with and shows the government is serious about tackling plastics and pollution;
    • Measures will extend responsibility for waste disposal to those who produce it, reducing waste in the long term as well as creating incentives for the reuse of material;
    • Cracking down on litter and tackling organised gangs who profit from waste crime.
  • Further improving the air we breathe:
    • Setting ambitious, legally-binding targets to ensure emissions of pollutants with the most significant impact on human health are limited;
    • Measures introduced will drive change at a local level, improving cooperation between local authorities who have legal responsibility for air quality in their areas;
    • Improving upon the Clean Air Act 1993.
  • Delivering sustainable water resources:
    • The Bill will deliver on the pledge set out in the 25-year Environment Plan;
    • Improvements to the long-term management of water to able to meet the challenges of climate change;
    • Measures are put in place to prevent environmentally damaging removal of water from the environment.
  • Restoring and enhancing nature and green spaces:
    • The Bill aims to restore and enhance the natural environment by introducing measures to support long-lasting action for nature.