Queen’s Speech: Environment Bill to be introduced later this year

The Environment Bill will be introduced in the upcoming parliamentary year, says the Queen in a speech delivered at the House of Lords. 

In her speech, the Queen has outlined 30 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year.

One of these is the Environment Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons in January 2020.

The bill has since been delayed three times, with ministers stating that the Covid-19 pandemic left too little parliamentary time for debate.

The bill includes various environmental protection measures, these include the establishment of new environmental principles and legally binding environmental targets following the UK’s departure from the EU.

It also includes the creation of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – a new environmental standards regulator in England.

The Queen also announced a trio of bills on animal welfare that will ban the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter.

The Queen said: ‘My Government will invest in new green industries to create jobs while protecting the environment.

‘The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets in the Environment Bill.’

Xavier Brice, CEO of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity commented on the speech: ‘The Government’s wider focus on levelling-up is admirable and should run through all the priorities announced today, as should the commitment to net-zero and tackling climate change – especially in a year in which the United Kingdom is hosting COP26. The proof of its commitment to both will however be in the detail of its upcoming policies.

‘We were pleased to see plans for further investment in public transport, but the important Transport Decarbonisation Plan has still not been published and must deliver the wider changes needed in transport policy to slash emissions from the UK’s most polluting sector. The Plan should support a long-term financial settlement for active travel to deliver the upcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

‘Planning reform offers the opportunity to support decarbonisation but will only do so by creating vibrant neighbourhoods which bring people within walking distance of the majority of the things that they need on a daily basis and help everyone to thrive without a car.

‘We are pleased to see some important legislation such as the Environment Bill return for the Government’s coming term.

‘The Bill is critical to protect nature and the environment, and clean up our air. It should be strengthened to ensure that access to, and enjoyment of nature is a priority along with other measures such as biodiversity. We know people value things more when they get to experience them and many deprived communities do not have good enough access to green space. Stronger air pollution targets which protect the health of people living in cities and towns suffocated by poor air are also required.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay


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