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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Ali Plummer:

If I could just add something, there are two parts to that question. One is about maintaining the robustness of enforcement mechanisms; what we are really looking for through the independence of the OEP is maintaining that in longevity. It is not necessarily about the intent of the body as it is being set up, but making sure that it maintains that independence and robustness going forward.

I guess a watchdog and enforcement body is only as good as the law it is able to uphold, which comes to the second part of your question. There are lots of welcome provisions within this Bill that should allow us to go much further and to build on existing environmental protections, but we would be looking for much more robust reassurance that that floor—those existing protections—will remain for us to build on. The second part is making sure that we are able to secure existing environmental legislation so that the OEP can continue to uphold that.