The Queen’s Speech promised an Environment Bill which will establish a ‘world-leading’ independent regulator, the Office for Environmental Protection, and hand some new powers to councils.
The proposed new regulator will oversee environmental policies and laws, investigate complaints and take enforcement action
The legislation will introduce new legally binding measures and environmental improvement targets and enshrine environmental principles in law.
Ministers promised that the legislation will increase local powers to tackle sources of air pollution and to ‘extend producer responsibility…to ensure a consistent approach to recycling and introduce deposit return schemes’. Councils will be given additional powers to improve air quality by ‘addressing sources of air pollution – such as emissions from burning coal and wood.
Changes to the planning system will, the Government says, enhance and protect nature through introducing local nature recovery strategies that ‘will ensure new houses aren’t built at the expense of nature’. Communities will be given a greater say in the protection of local trees.
The Bill will also introduce charges for specified single use items and require water companies to work together to meet current and future demand.