Results 41–60 of 325 for speaker:Leo Docherty

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 35 - Environmental review (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Member for the amendments. The Government agree that it is important for the general public and interested parties to be able to challenge alleged breaches of environmental law, which is why we are ensuring that anybody can make a complaint to the OEP, free of charge, about a public authority’s alleged failure to comply with environmental law, which is in addition to...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 33 - Decision Notices (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: It is, of course, important that the OEP’s enforcement framework is robust. However, we do not consider that binding notices would be an effective or appropriate means of achieving that. Decision notices are an important part of the OEP’s enforcement framework. They allow the OEP to set out the nature of a failure and recommend the remedial steps that a public authority should take in...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 35 - Environmental review (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I beg to move amendment 207, in clause 35, page 20, line 40, leave out “Upper Tribunal” and insert “court”. This amendment replaces a reference to the Upper Tribunal with a reference to the court, which means either the High Court or the Court of Session. Similar changes are made by Amendments 210, 211, 212, 214 and 216.

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 35 - Environmental review (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: This group of amendments will move the environmental review process from the upper tribunal to the High Court. Having reflected further on how that process will fit within the wider landscape of environmental mitigation, we have identified a risk that hearing environmental reviews in the upper tribunal could introduce unnecessary complexity and, potentially, inconsistency. This change is...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 32 - Information notices (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I understand the hon. Gentleman’s desire to ensure that all failures are addressed by the OEP. However, the amendment may in fact limit the OEP’s ability to resolve failures quickly and efficiently. The OEP’s enforcement function has been designed as a framework. An escalating series of measures is available for it to use to resolve failures as quickly as possible in the interests of...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 32 - Information notices (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I beg to move amendment 205, in clause 32, page 19, line 2, at end insert— “(aa) explains why the OEP considers that the alleged failure, if it occurred, would be serious, and”. Under clause 32 the OEP may give a public authority an information notice if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that the authority has failed to comply with environmental law, and it considers that the...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 32 - Information notices (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: Amendment 205 is a technical amendment that serves to clarify that an information notice issued by the OEP must explain why the OEP considers that the alleged failure would be serious. Together with the corresponding change proposed in Government amendment 206 to clause 33, concerning decision notices, it will ensure that all the OEP’s notices are clear and transparent, and it will provide...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 30 - Investigations (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his contribution and agree that it is extremely important that the OEP should operate as transparently as possible. However, it is also important that it should be allowed the discretion it needs to operate effectively. Investigation reports prepared under the clause will play an important role in ensuring that the OEP’s enforcement activities are transparent...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 30 - Investigations (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: It is only a matter of time.

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 28 - Failure of public authorities to comply with environmental law (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank hon. Members for their contributions. I agree that it is of great importance that the OEP should be able to hold public authorities to account, and that all parties should have certainty about its remit. I assure hon. Members, however, that the provisions in the Bill are sufficient to ensure both those things. Regarding amendment 117, we have deliberately taken a broad approach to...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 29 - Complaints (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Lady for tabling her amendment. It is of course important that the OEP be aware of potential breaches of environmental law, and the power to receive complaints is an important element of that. However, it would not be appropriate for one public authority to be able to submit a complaint to the OEP about another public authority; it would amount to one part of the government...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 27 - Advising on changes to environmental law etc (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: The Bill provides the OEP with statutory functions that enable it to provide advice on any proposed changes to environmental law. It can also provide advice, at the request of a Minister, on any other matter relating to the natural environment. The clause provides the Minister with a discretionary power to lay the OEP’s advice and any response they wish to make to it before Parliament. In...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 27 - Advising on changes to environmental law etc (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I take the hon. Gentleman’s point, but the key word here is “flexibility”. It is important that flexibility be retained in the relationship so that the Government can interact with the OEP and other public bodies with ease. That is the important principle at stake here. The OEP is required to act transparently, and any advice that it provides, either on its own initiative or at the...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 24 - Co-operation duties of public authorities and the OEP (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Member for her contribution. I would like to reassure her that the Bill respects all the devolution settlements, including the Scotland Act. Therefore, the duty to co-operate does not apply to Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Parliament or any person carrying out devolved functions, and the public authorities listed in the amendment are already excluded from the duty to...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 25 - Monitoring and reporting on environmental improvement plans and targets (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Gentleman for this amendment, as it allows me to highlight the reporting mechanisms and duties the Bill creates for the Office for Environmental Protection and the Government. These carefully designed reporting mechanisms are central to the OEP’s ability to hold the Government to account on their environmental commitments. Clause 25(10) already requires the Secretary of...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 26 - Monitoring and reporting on environmental law (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I thank the hon. Gentleman for tabling the amendment, as it gives me the opportunity to clarify the OEP’s remit. The intention of the amendment is to include international environmental law within the remit of the OEP’s monitoring function only where it is relevant to the UK. However, the relevant international environmental law already falls within the remit of the OEP in three ways....

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 22 - Principal objectives of the OEP and exercise of its functions (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I beg to move amendment 204, in clause 22, page 13, line 22, after “36(1)” insert “and (6A)”

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 22 - Principal objectives of the OEP and exercise of its functions (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: We have sought to ensure that the OEP focuses its enforcement function on the most significant and serious breaches of environmental law. Unlike the European Commission, which can only take action against member state Governments, the new Office for Environmental Protection will enforce the delivery of environmental law by all levels of public authority, from local authorities and arm’s...

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 22 - Principal objectives of the OEP and exercise of its functions (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I will be pleased to write to the hon. Member.

Public Bill Committee: Environment Bill: Clause 22 - Principal objectives of the OEP and exercise of its functions (5 Nov 2020)

Leo Docherty: I beg to move amendment 203, in clause 22, page 13, line 22, after “33(1)(b)” insert “,35(1)(b)”. This amendment is consequential on Amendment 208. It requires the OEP’s enforcement policy to set out how the OEP will determine whether a failure to comply with environmental law is serious for the purposes of clause 35(1)(b), which is inserted by Amendment 208.


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