Net-zero commitments a welcome addition to environment bill

31 January 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the addition of net-zero commitments in the Government’s flagship Environment Bill.

Published today, the Environment Bill creates new powers to stop the exports of polluting plastic waste to developing countries alongside enshrining environmental principles in law and introducing measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore plant and wildlife habitats.

CIEH has been a leading campaigner in calling on the Government to bring the Bill back as a matter of urgency post-election.

Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive at CIEH, said:

“We are glad that the Government has listened to CIEH and other campaigners and brought this essential piece of legislation back as a post-election priority.

The new Environment Bill has the potential to bring forth new laws to protect our health, no matter where we live or work. To do this, we need to see both a strong level of ambition and adequate resources backing up action on the ground.

The Bill needs to set robust and evidence-based targets on air pollution. These targets should follow WHO guidelines and be met in the fastest possible time rather than in the distant future. The targets should also be set in a transparent way.

Local authorities are due to play a key role in taking action to tackle air pollution locally. They should be supported with adequate funding and resources to do this.

Whilst it is positive to see a “clean air duty” for local public bodies, we would like to see a stronger duty for all levels of government to take action, so that air quality is a priority for everyone, not only local government. Aligning priorities in this way is much more likely to result in targets being met.

We will now spend time properly scrutinising the updated version of the Bill but are heartened by the announcement of net zero commitments being enshrined in law. We hope these will lead to swift progress in decarbonising our economy.”

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