Environment Bill delayed again

February 2, 2021

The Environment Bill, which was due to return to Parliament on 26 January, has been delayed again. Defra has said the latest delay is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After a brief return to Parliament in November 2020, the Bill was put on hold once again in December 2020.

The Bill was finally due to return to Parliament last week for the report stage however the Government took it off the agenda and confirmed that it will be rolled over into the next Parliamentary session.

Green groups and trade bodies, while sympathetic to the challenges facing the department, are concerned that the delay sends the wrong message in the year of COP26. There are also concerns about the UK’s ability to deliver against the aims of related policy packages, like the Agriculture Bill and 25-Year Environment Plan, without the Environment Bill as a foundation.

Simon Alcock, head of public affairs at ClientEarth, said: “The Prime Minister promised the Environment Bill would be a flagship bill of this Parliament yet the Government has completely failed to get it through this session. As the UK prepares to host COP 26, this is deeply embarrassing and undermines its credibility.

“Rather than taking the opportunity to legislate to better protect the environment and people’s health, the Government is once again delaying any progress.

“This delay means a further extended period in which the Government and public authorities are not being adequately held to account over their compliance with environmental law. That will be almost a whole year of the Government avoiding any proper scrutiny.

“The quality of the air that we breathe, the water we drink and the nature we enjoy will all be put at risk because of this incompetent and frustrating delay.”

 

This is valid as of 2nd February 2021.

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