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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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Ruth Chambers:

It might well be, but that ship has sailed, unfortunately. The Scottish and Welsh Governments are now making their own devolved governance arrangements. I think the Scottish legislation will be coming shortly. It is less clear when Welsh proposals will be out, but we hope that will be shortly. It is important to look at them side by side, to ensure that they interrelate on things such as transboundary issues. There is a clause in the Bill that requires future environmental governance bodies to co-operate and share information. I think that is very important.

To go back to Northern Ireland, if I may, we spoke about environmental principles being a slightly forgotten part of the Bill; we also feel that way about the Northern Ireland clauses in part 2. Again, we talk about the OEP and principles, but the Northern Ireland environmental governance provisions are a game-changer for Northern Ireland. We should not underestimate their importance. We hope that they get due consideration in the Committee, either in the oral evidence sessions or when amendments are proposed. They are vital; we cannot stress that enough.