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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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Rebecca Newsom:

The thing that I would want to say about that is that reporting and analysis are really important, but are not the same as interim targets actually having a legal force. It is a top priority from all of our perspectives to ensure that the short-term interim targets that lead towards end goals have that legal bite, so that there is absolutely no wiggle room in terms of the requirement on public authorities to ensure progress straightaway to meeting that long-term goal.

That is really important, particularly also because there is a track record for voluntary targets set by Government not being met or being abandoned—for example the 2020 target of not using peat in horticulture has not been met. Another example is that site of special scientific interest targets have also now been dropped, and they were voluntary. It is really important that we have that safeguard in the Bill, guaranteeing that the interim targets will have that force.