Today, the Environment Bill was due to go to Report Stage in the House of Commons, where all MPs would have had the chance to support amendments and discuss the Bill. For MPs who care about the planet, this was a key opportunity to turn words into actions and move things forward.
The announcement that the reading has been delayed until the next Parliamentary session, which isn't due to begin until spring 2022 puts our beloved wild places at risk.
Shropshire Wildlife Trusts chief executive Richard Grindle commented:
"We are very concerned that the government has postponed this vital legislation. If we are serious about nature’s recovery and reducing carbon emissions we have to act NOW; every additional delay will mean further irreversible damage".
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts says:
“News that the Government’s flagship Environment Bill will suffer yet more delays is deeply troubling. When he introduced the Bill, the Prime Minister said it was ‘the huge star of our legislative programme… a lodestar by which we will guide our country towards a cleaner, and greener future’. The fact that the Government plans to end the Parliamentary session over a year on without having delivered the ‘star’ of the programme will raise questions over its commitment to leaving the environment in a better state for the next generation.
“Recently, the Prime Minister explicitly committed to taking urgent action to put nature on a path to recovery by 2030 as part of the UN ‘Decade of Action’. But over a year into the decade, very little progress has been made. To make up for lost time, the Government must substantially ramp-up its environmental ambition. This must start with putting a legally-binding target to reverse nature’s decline by 2030 on the face of the Environment Bill when it returns, and proper funding for landscape recovery to deliver it.”
A report produced by Greener UK and Countryside Link can be downloaded on this page. The report illustrates the importance of a robust Environment Bill and suggests some amendments to the draft version of the Bill.