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Given it now looks like the Environment Bill may not be dropped after all, what changes would you like to see so that it meets London’s environmental needs and the demands of Londoners?
I am pleased that the Government has finally laid the Environment Bill before Parliament which the Government states will help tackle the pressing environmental challenges of our time and leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.
I welcome the fact that government have strengthened the Bill and committed to enshrine key environmental principles, legally binding long-term targets, in areas including air quality, biodiversity, waste and water resources, and charged the Office for Environmental Protection with enforcing climate laws. These were all areas that I called for in my responses to government on the draft Bill.
However, there are a number of areas where the Bill is lacking. I called for the Bill to legislate for the non-regression commitment and establish an Office for Environmental Protection that is fully independent of government, appropriately resourced and granted the necessary powers to hold government to fully account.
Unfortunately, the Bill as proposed does not do this and as it passes through parliament I will continue to call for it to be strengthened to include these important issues and ensure that the UK post-Brexit has an equivalent or better level of protection than it has currently whilst in the EU.
These elements are all essential if the Environment Bill, supported by new and additional sources of funding, is going to enable London to meet the ambitious environmental targets that I have set out in my London Environment Strategy.