The Greener UK coalition released a proposal on what will make the government’s newest environment bill a success. With the right legislation in place, the Greener UK coalition believes the bill will help reduce the country’s environmental impact and increase public engagement on environmental issues.
Back in July, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that a new environmental bill would be introduced from the government. She suggested that the bill would be incorporated into the government’s 25-year environment plan. However, since this announcement, there has been little detail in regards to the content of the proposed legislation.
In October, the Greener UK intervened with their own proposal. The Greener UK is a group of 13 environmental organizations who formed post-Brexit, in the attempt to restore and enhance the UK’s environment. With a new environmental bill put to action, the coalition hopes that the United Kingdom will uphold higher environmental standards.
The coalition argues that the bill should demand the government and public bodies to have an active role in the maintenance, recovery, and restoration of the environment. From “soils and habitats to the seas and the air,” Greener UK believes that the bill should focus on building a healthier environment. The public should be both engaged and educated on environmental issues and the government should consider its impact when dealing in future trade deals.
To fulfill these objectives, Greener UK believes that the government needs to be held accountable. To be held accountable the coalition is an advocate for legally binding targets. By establishing legally binding targets, the government will have to release reports annually describing what progress has been made and include five-yearly milestones and metrics.
The coalition also suggests that creating nature recovery maps can increase local efforts. These maps would help identify air and water quality as well as habitats. The maps would be utilized in local plans and as an aid to help make public spending more efficient and cost-effective.
Lastly, to ensure that environmental impacts are considered in future negotiations, the Greener UK proposes a non-regression principle. With a non-regression principle in place, it would prevent any regression on the adoption or implementation of environmental laws.
Amy Mount, Head of the Greener UK unit emphasizes that the environment bill presents an opportunity to make an impact. Setting legally binding targets, holding ministers and public bodies accountable, and enforcing a stronger commitment to the environment can help the United Kingdom carry on a greener legacy.