Ensuring sufficient oversight is in place to enforce and maintain standards post Brexit is among key aims of new proposals that seek to also ensure the UK’s 25 Year Environmental Plan is on track
The government has published its Draft Environment Bill that is intended to enforce national commitments to protect the natural environment upon the country’s exit from the EU.
The proposals also detail commitments to support the UK government and industry in meeting ambitions set out in the country’s 25 Year Environment Plan that contains commitments to improve building efficiency and introduce new approaches to heating.
Among the core recommendations of the draft Bill is the creation of a new body known as the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). The body will oversee environmental enforcement functions alongside offering advice and scrutiny to government as a replacement for the European Commission and European Environment Agency.
This scrutiny will consider the effectiveness of environmental law and the government’s environment plan, while also investigating complaints.
The Government said in a statement, “The draft Bill commits the government to publishing a policy statement which will set out how ministers should interpret and apply environmental principles. It also commits government to have a plan for environmental improvement.”
A consultation has also been launched alongside the draft Bill to gather industry views on defining the preferred indicators to measure progress towards meeting the main goals of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The deadline for responses is set for January 25.
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) said the draft text set out by government was a welcome step to begin offering more clarity around future environmental standards and how they will be enforced that will have a significant effect on building services.
John Alker, UKGBC director of policy and places, said, “Our built environment has a huge impact on nature and biodiversity, and ensuring we protect and enhance our natural assets is vital, not least for our own health and wellbeing. This bill should give clarity to construction and property businesses on environmental principles and provide the policy certainty to raise the bar on standards.”
“With fewer than one hundred days until Brexit, it is crucial that this bill has the teeth to ensure our environmental protections are not weakened by our exit from the EU. We look forward to working closely with industry and policymakers to ensure the final outcomes deliver for nature and help achieve a truly a sustainable built environment.”