Environment Bill explained: Government to ban plastic waste exports to developing countries
The new bill will also include provisions for a new independent Office for Environmental Protection to scrutinise environmental policy
Thursday, 30th January 2020, 12:04 am
The long-awaited bill is due to be introduced to Parliament on Thursday.
It will also include a commitment to review the biggest developments in environmental legislation around the world every two years to inform domestic policy.
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“We are facing climate change and our precious natural environment is under threat. We need to take decision action,” Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers will say.
‘We have set out our pitch to be world leader on the environment as we leave the EU’ (Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty)
“We have set out our pitch to be world leader on the environment as we leave the EU and the Environment Bill is a crucial part of achieving this aim,” she said.
China, the main recipient of plastic waste, stopped importing it in January 2018, meaning much of it has been diverted to other developing countries which are struggling to dispose of it.
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New environment watchdog
The new bill will also include provisions for a new independent Office for Environmental Protection to scrutinise environmental policy and law as well as measures to improve air quality, restore and enhance nature, protect water resources and waste management.
It was generally welcomed by campaigners, although they say it should go further.
Friends of the Earth campaigner, Kierra Box, said: “If the government wants to show global leadership on protecting our environment it must set out legal guarantees in the Environment Bill to ensure existing eco-laws aren’t watered down in a post-Brexit world. This bill does not offer that guarantee.”
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Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust, added: “This new Environment Bill will help close the gap left in our laws by our departure from the EU. We welcome the Government’s ambition, and are thankful for its ongoing commitment to this essential legislation.
“However, there is still much more work to do for the UK to be a leader on the world stage in 2020. The Bill is currently not strong enough to fulfil the Government’s promise of there being no drop in environmental standards once we leave the EU,” she said.