Released last week, the wide-ranging policy paper details the criteria of the targets to be set under the Environment Bill framework.
The Environment Bill is described by government as bringing about ‘urgent and meaningful action to combat the environmental and climate crises we are facing and acts as a key vehicle for delivering the bold vision set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.’
The new policy paper describes how the Environment Bill allows for long-term targets to be set in respect of any matter which relates to the natural environment, with a commitment for government to set at least one target with a minimum 15 year duration in the four priority areas of air quality, biodiversity, water and resource efficiency and waste reduction. The targets are to be brought forward by 31 October 2022.
Increase resource productivity
The targets will be supported by interim targets, which will set a five year trajectory towards meeting the long-term targets. Sections of the policy paper cover the process for developing targets under the Environment Bill framework, an overview of their scope, sources of target information and how stakeholders can get involved.
With regards to resource efficiency and waste reduction, the paper explains that the government are seeking to increase resource productivity whilst reducing residual waste in England, including plastic pollution. The targets set will be at an England level and will not directly impose requirements onto local authorities or any other organisations.
Stakeholders, including business, communities and civil society, will be able to respond to the proposed targets in consultations that are planned to take place in 2022.
Driving force behind bold action
Environment Secretary George Eustice commented on the release of the policy paper “The targets we set under our landmark Environment Bill will be the driving force behind our bold action to protect and enhance our natural world – guaranteeing real and lasting progress on some of the biggest environmental issues facing us today."
"I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.”
Head of policy at Ecosurety, Robbie Staniforth, commented “The government are continuing to move in the right direction. It is pleasing to see that resource and waste remains high on their agenda for this term in Government."
"Short-term target setting is vital for ensuring we get off the starting blocks and make quick progress.”
The 'Environment Bill – environmental targets' policy paper can be viewed here.
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