The Environment Bill was introduced to Parliament yesterday creating legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law with powers covering all climate change legislation. Other points of note include:
- The Bill enables the variation or revocation of water abstraction licences without the regulator being liable to pay compensation to the licence holder in certain conditions, principally if considered necessary to protect the water environment from damage, or if the licence holder is abstracting at least 25% less water than their licensed volume over a 12 year period.
- This Bill also enables the expansion of existing, or the creation of new, Internal Drainage Boards. This is significant for the Waver Wampool and Lyth Valley areas of Cumbria where there is the potential to establish new Internal Drainage Boards if there is sufficient community support.
- The Bill supplements existing legislation and policy on protected sites and species and introduces new incentives, actions and planning tools to drive further improvements for nature. It also lays the foundation for the Nature Recovery Network and introduces measures to tackle waste crime.
This is a very significant piece of legislation and the full policy statement can be read on the following link: Environment Bill 2020 - Policy Statement.