Clause 35 - Environmental review

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 5th November 2020.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Shadow Minister (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 3:30 pm, 5th November 2020

We do not intend to press this to a Division if we are satisfied that the public are fully protected in terms of how this works overall. The Minister has to some extent, by pointing out the mechanism for judicial review, started to build ground for the possibility that there are other mechanisms for public intervention. I welcome the fact that he indicated that there should be public involvement, if necessary, beyond the involvement of public bodies where appropriate, but I do not think he has made the case—in terms of a specifically environmental review, which, as he said, is a relatively new process—that the public’s ability under judicial review to intervene can be wholly applied to environmental review in the way that the Bill might intend.

Our amendments try to tie the public—a “person with sufficient interest”—to that environmental review specifically. I am afraid, therefore, that we need to put on record that this is an important right that the public should have and that it is not fully recognised in the Bill. We would like to see it recognised, and therefore I think we ought to apply for a Division on amendment 123 this afternoon.