Government’s Environment Act becomes law

Legislation that will protect and enhance the environment for future generations has now passed into UK law.

The Environment Act seeks to improve air quality, restore natural habitats, increase biodiversity, reduce waste and make better use of resources. It will also halt the decline in species by 2030, require new developments to improve or create habitats for nature, and tackle deforestation overseas.

Changes will be driven by new legally binding environmental targets, and enforced by a new, independent Office for Environmental Protection which will hold government and public bodies to account on their environmental obligations.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The Environment Act will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth. It will halt the decline of species by 2030, clean up our air and protect the health of our rivers, reform the way in which we deal with waste and tackle deforestation overseas. We are setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

New duties will also require the government to publish a plan to reduce sewage discharges from storm overflows by September 2022 and report to Parliament on the progress towards implementing the plan.

The Office for Environmental Protection was set up in an interim, non-statutory form in July, providing independent oversight of the Government’s environmental progress and accelerating the foundation of the full body. The OEP will formally commence its statutory functions shortly.

Dame Glenys Stacey, chair of the OEP said: “The Environment Act is a cornerstone of the government’s ambitions to tackle ever more pressing environmental issues. I am delighted that the Act creates the independent Office for Environmental Protection, and gives us the tools for our job – to protect and improve the environment by holding government and public authorities to account. We are well underway with establishing a functionally independent, fully operational OEP from early in the new year. There has never been a more crucial time for us all to work to protect and improve our environment. The OEP will play its full part.”

Event Diary

The Security Event is set to be the first major exhibition to take place in the sector when it opens its doors on 7-9 September 2021 at the NEC in Birmingham and for the first time it will also encompass the National Cyber Security Show.

digitech21 will seek to demystify the increasingly complex technology landscape and will showcase a host of public sector best practice case studies and the very best solution providers, each of whom are helping organisations to transform and improve the way in which the public sector delivers services to the citizen.

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