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Environment Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:44 pm on 26th February 2020.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:44 pm, 26th February 2020

My right hon. Friend makes an important point, and the Bill will require local authorities to have their own strategies for biodiversity and for nature recovery. As he identifies, these are exactly the types of issues that we want them to address.

Before I close, I will highlight three new additions to the Bill since it was introduced in the previous Parliament. Clause 19 will mean that, when introducing a Bill, every Secretary of State in every future UK Government will have to include on the face of that Bill a statement on whether the new primary legislation will have the effect of reducing existing levels of environmental protection.

The second addition is that the Bill will create a new power to implement the Government’s manifesto commitment to end the exporting of polluting plastic waste to non-OECD countries. We will consult industry, non-governmental organisations and local authorities on specific restrictions or prohibitions.

Thirdly, clause 20 will require the Government to take stock biennially of significant developments in international legislation on the environment and then publish a review.

In conclusion, this Government are committed to leaving the environment in a better state than we found it, whether through planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year by the end of this Parliament, transforming our approach to agriculture, tackling air pollution or improving our waste management. This Bill will create the framework to set a long-term course for our country to drive environmental improvement, and I commend it to the House.