Friends of the Earth says government must strengthen Environment Bill

Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to significantly strengthen its Environment Bill – which is expected to be republished in the coming days
  Published:  24 Jan 2020    |      1 minute read

The campaigning group criticised the bill for being weak in key areas when it was first published in October last year.

Friends of the Earth is calling for a number of improvements to the Environment Bill, including:

  • Ensuring that existing environmental laws aren’t weakened post-Brexit;
  • Making the planned environment watchdog independent, properly funded, and able to issue legally robust sanctions;
  • Requiring all parts of government to adhere to environmental principles - such as the ‘polluter pays’ principle so anyone who damages the environment pays for the clean-up;
  • Bringing in a timetabled and binding commitment to stem the flow of plastic pollution, and phase-out all unnecessary single-use plastics;
  • Introducing a binding target to meet World Health Organisation standards for fine particle air pollution by 2030, and a new clean air duty on all public authorities.

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Friends of the Earth campaigner Kierra Box said:

“The environment bill is a landmark opportunity for the government to keep its pledge to maintain and enhance the protection of our environment and health.

“Guarantees that UK environmental laws won’t be weakened post-Brexit are crucial - there are well-founded fears that our eco-protections may be used as a bargaining chip in future trade deals in a desperate race to the bottom.

“To have any hope of being effective the new environment watchdog must be independent and properly funded – and equipped with strong, sharp teeth to ensure that industry and government take it seriously.

“Tough, enforceable targets to clean-up the nation’s filthy air and stem the tide of plastic pollution are long over-due. This bill could kick-start much-needed improvements.

“With the world in the midst of a planetary emergency, Boris Johnson’s government should use this opportunity to show how he will meet this challenge.”