Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the introduction of the landmark Environment Bill, which will tackle the biggest environmental priorities, and which constitutes a historic step change in the way the Government protects and enhances the natural environment.

The Bill will ensure that UK maintains and improve its environmental protections after Brexit. It will build on the Government’s strong track record and sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper. Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and the Bill will:

  • ensure the environment is at the heart of all government policy making, and will hold Government’s to account if they fail to uphold their environmental duties, including meeting net-zero by 2050, and wider long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency established under the Bill;
  • improve air quality by fighting pollution, with a legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter. The Government will also be empowered to mandate manufacturers to recall vehicles when they do not meet the relevant environmental standards;
  • restore and enhance nature through ‘biodiversity net gain’, to ensure that the new houses we build are delivered in a way which protects and enhances nature. The Government will also improve protection for natural habitats with a Nature Recovery Network;
  • introduce a consistent approach to recycling and tackling waste crime. The Bill also introduces a bottle deposit return schemes and new powers to introduce charges that will minimise the use and impacts of single use plastics. This builds on the success of the 5p plastic bag charge, which has cut sales from the biggest supermarkets by 90% since 2015;

The Bill will also create a new independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to scrutinise environmental policy and law. The OEP’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and will be able to hold the Government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

“Our natural environment is a vital shared resource and the need to act to secure it for generations to come is clear. That’s why our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate. Crucially, it also ensures that after Brexit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government, both now and in the future.”

Speaking about the Bill, Giles said:

“I am pleased that the Environment Bill has, finally, been tabled after almost a twelve month wait. I know that the environment is an important issue for constituents, and this Bill will tackle some of the biggest environmental issues of our time. I will be looking to introduce amendments to the Bill to ensure we better respond to the problem of plastic and the climate crisis, and I have no doubt that these efforts will be well supported.”