An Environment Bill (the “Bill”) was introduced in October 2019, before the December election, to replace EU-based environment law. The Bill’s progress has been halted, first by the general election and then by COVID-19.
The Bill entered the committee stage in the House of Commons on 10 November 2020. Descriptions of the Bill vary enormously depending on who you ask. The Government has called it “The landmark and world-leading legislation which will transform how we protect and enhance our environment” claiming that it “sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow our environment to prosper for future generations and ensure that we maintain and enhance our environmental protections”. Environmental groups have a different take. The Green Party has described proposed amendments to the Bill as a ‘get out jail free’ card for the UK Government, Greenpeace UK has been busily finding loopholes in the draft legislation and Friends of the Earth has called upon the government to significantly strengthen the Bill’s proposals.
Who is right?
Four environmental law specialists at 39 Essex Chambers, Stephen Tromans QC, Richard Wald QC, Ruth Keating and Gethin Thomas have been taking a look at the principal provisions of the Bill as it passes, slowly, through Parliament, to see whether it is possible to get a sufficiently clear reading of the legislative runestones to understand which of these competing visions for what will become the UK principal environmental law Act, is correct.
We hope you find our review helpful and interesting and would very much welcome any views, comments, questions or queries which occur to you as you read. These may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or shared on our LinkedIn page. We intend to keep the document updated as the Bill continues on its parliamentary journey and we are keen to include in our consideration of the emerging legislation the input of our readers.
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