William Eichler 19 August 2020

Government announces ‘legally binding targets’ to tackle climate change

The Government has set out a series of legally binding targets under the Environment Bill to combat climate change.

The new targets will introduce at least one long-term target in four priority areas to drive environmental improvements: cleaner air, cleaner water, less waste and more biodiversity.

These targets will be supported by interim targets to ensure the Government stays on track. Progress will be reported on annually.

The four priority areas, and proposed objectives for targets, include focusing on reducing public exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the air pollutant that has the most significant impact on health.

They also include increasing resource productivity and reducing the volume of residual waste and plastic pollution we generate.

The Government said they will explore targets to restore and create wildlife-rich habitats in protected sites on land, in freshwaters and at sea and in the wider countryside, and to increase species populations on land and improve marine biodiversity.

They also announced targets to tackle pollution from agriculture and waste water to improve water quality, as well as a target on water demand to reduce the volume that is abstracted.

‘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,’ said environment secretary George Eustice.

‘I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.’

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