Friends of the Earth says government must strengthen Environment Bill
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.
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.”