Author Archives: Ruth Chambers

Why the government must rethink its approach on environmental principles

Our dynamic, living planet is on a journey: the UK government has made it clear it wants the destination to be an environment in a better state than we found it, a welcome ambition which is embedded in the government’s long term environment strategy. But clear signposts will be needed to ensure that we don’t lose our way and we can navigate the choices and challenges that lie ahead.

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Why the government must hold the line on chemicals safety

This post is by Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary affairs associate, Greener UK Unit and Libby Peake, head of resource policy at Green Alliance

It didn’t take long for the first major test of the government’s Brexit promise to maintain high environmental standards to arrive. The chemicals industry is lobbying the government to relax the rules on how important information on the safety of chemicals is managed, citing the extra costs it has to bear as a result of Brexit.

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To lead the world this year on the environment, the UK must put its own house in order first

A welcome new report from the cross cutting Public Accounts Committee has set down a clear challenge for the government on why action to meet its long term environmental goals must be accelerated.

Coming only days after the announcement that the flagship Environment Bill was being carried over into the next parliamentary session, bringing a delay of some six months, the report offers a timely reminder that environmental progress cannot be assumed and requires sustained leadership and commitment.

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Why the Environment Bill must come back with a bang not a whimper

After a lengthy delay of more than six months, the Environment Bill will make a welcome return to parliament on 3 November. It will pick up where it left off with a committee of MPs going through the bill in detail and discussing where changes and clarifications are needed. During its absence we have faced major challenges, the resurgence of coronavirus and significant new evidence of the perilous state of nature at home and across the planet.

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Environment Bill must not undermine environmental accountability

It is good news that the Environment Bill will resume its parliamentary journey on 3 November after a delay of more than six months. The not-so-good news is that the government has proposed some amendments to the Bill (for example, see NC24 on page 50) which would weaken the already precarious independence of the new green watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

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The mystery of the vanished Environment Bill

Today marks 200 days since the Environment Bill was last seen in parliament.

The passage of the bill was paused on Thursday 19 March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Of course, this was absolutely the right decision as the government focused its energies on dealing with the pandemic. But, as parliamentary business resumed in early summer we expected to see the bill, which ministers have described as a ‘flagship’, return quickly. Its continued absence is, therefore, a mystery and casts a lengthening shadow of doubt on the government’s environmental credentials.

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