April 2019 – Environment Bill and Environment charter

April 2019 – Environment Bill and Environment charter

Thank you for those who contacted me about the WWF’s Environment Charter.

As set out in the 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, the decision to leave the European Union has created an historic opportunity to deliver a Green Brexit, where environmental standards are not only maintained but enhanced.

I can understand why this is a moment of concern for some. The European Union has, in a number of ways, been a force for good environmentally, so I am pleased that the Government has no intention of weakening the environmental protections it has seen put in place.

In other areas it has not always succeeded, most clearly in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The CAP rewards land-holding ahead of good environmental practice. Outside it, we can use public money to reward environmentally responsible land use. Meanwhile despite reforms that the UK has led since 2010, still 40 per cent of fish stocks in the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea are being fished unsustainably. By leaving the CFP, taking back control of our waters, granting access and allocating quotas based on sustainability, we can pursue the very highest standards in marine conservation.

Outside the EU we can develop global gold standard environmental policies, taking smarter, more targeted approaches to the improvements we want to see. The Environment Bill will put environmental ambition and accountability at the very heart of government, making good on our commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it, and creating a new environment body to ensure it succeeds.

A draft version of the corresponding clauses of the Environment Bill has now been published. This paper sets out the broader ambition of the Environment Bill, which will cover environmental principles and governance alongside four other key areas: air, nature recovery, water and waste management. More detail on all policy areas will be published in due course.