The UK Government has introduced a new enhanced Environmental Bill into Parliament.
The new Environment Bill, introduced into Parliament this week, will introduce measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats to ensure plants and wildlife can ‘thrive’.
For the first time, the enhanced Bill will create new powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries, which could prevent harmful waste from being shipped out of sight whilst boosting the UK’s domestic recycling system.
The Bill will also target air quality by committing to set an ambitious, legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter, the pollutant of greatest harm to human health.
In addition, this Bill will ensure that local authorities have a clear framework for tackling air pollution and simple to use powers to address pollution in their areas.
Theresa Villiers, Environment Secretary, said: “We are facing climate change and our precious natural environment is under threat. We need to take decisive action.”
“We have set out our pitch to be a world leader on the environment as we leave the EU and the Environment Bill is a crucial part of achieving this aim. It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste.”
A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities.
The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
In November 2020, the UK will host the UN Climate Summit COP26, a crucial year for countries to show they have met deadlines set at the Paris Agreement.