MPs warn of "downgraded" protection in draft Environment Bill

A cross party group of MPs has warned that “climate change mitigation has been specifically excluded” from the government’s proposed legislation aimed at protecting the environment should the UK leave the European Union.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has highlighted “serious concerns” with the draft Environment (Governance and Principles) Bill saying it lacked coherence and removed environmental responsibilities from many government departments.

The EAC , in its pre-legislation scrutiny report , said: “The environmental principles which guide and inform European Union legislation and policy have been severely downgraded by the proposals in the Bill.”

The committee chair, Mary Creagh said the Bill neutered the proposed green governance body, the Office of Environmental Protection (OEP): “Far from creating a body which is independent, free to criticise the government and hold it to account, this Bill would reduce action to meet environmental standards to a tick-box exercise, limit scrutiny, and pass the buck for environmental failings to local authorities.” she warned.

  • Defra last week reported it had received 670 responses to its December 2018 consultation on biodiversity net gain, and said it would publish its response alongside the Environment Bill later this year.