UK Government plans represent a threat to Environmental Health Systems

26 September 2022, Ciaran Donaghy

On World Environmental Health Day, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed its concern that the UK Government’s plans to create so-called ‘Investment Zones’ across England, and quite possibly the whole of the UK, represents a threat to good environmental health.

On Friday, the Chancellor announced a raft of policies in the highly anticipated ‘mini budget’, including the creation of low tax ‘Investment Zones’ across England. Several wildlife, nature and conservation charities and organisations have already voiced their concerns on the impact such a plan would have on our natural environment, wildlife habitats and CIEH wishes to add its voice to these growing concerns.

The creation of ‘Investment Zones’, in combination with the introduction of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, which aims to review, repeal, and replace the 2,400 pieces of EU legislation currently on the UK statute books, threatens to weaken the regulatory framework designed to ensure strong environmental health protection.

On World Environmental Health Day, CIEH is promoting the theme of strengthening Environmental Health Systems for the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals. CIEH has expressed its concerns regarding these measures, arguing that they weaken, rather than strengthen, our Environmental Health Systems, and is calling on the UK Government to change course.

Ross Matthewman, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“Now the dust has settled, and we have reviewed the measures announced in the Chancellor’s ‘mini budget’ in detail, we wish to express in no uncertain terms our concern the impact these policies will have on our natural environment.

The deregulatory approach embarked upon by the UK Government, in which they aim to review, replace, and repeal over 2,000 pieces of EU legislation by December 2023, only serves to place our Environmental Health Systems under threat.

This potential bonfire of regulations has not been afforded sufficient parliamentary scrutiny or public consultation and could ultimately result in a weaker regulatory framework than what is currently in place.

Our theme on World Environmental Health Day is to strengthen our Environmental Health Systems for the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals. These goals are essential in ensuring that we remain on track for our 2050 Net Zero commitments and mitigate against the damaging effects of climate change.

We would urge the Government to reverse course and think more carefully about their course of action, as now more than ever we need robust Environmental Health Systems to ensure we meet our climate commitments and protect our natural environment.”

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