Thank you for contacting me about the progress of the Environment Bill.
I am pleased that this Government remains fully committed to the Environment Bill as a key part of delivering the manifesto commitment to create the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on Earth. I am assured that key work on implementing the Bill’s measures continues at pace, including establishing the Office for Environmental Protection, setting long-term legally-binding targets for environmental protection and creating a new Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers.
The Environment Bill will place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of Government and legislative measures will be introduced to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age, ensuring that we can deliver on the commitment to leave the natural world in a better condition than we found it. These will include meeting net zero by 2050, as well as wider long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency which will be established under the Bill.
Further, the Government intends to amend the Bill in the Lords to include a new, historic, legally binding target on species abundance for 2030, aiming to halt the decline of nature. This is a pioneering measure that will be the net zero equivalent for nature, spurring action on the scale required to address the biodiversity crisis. A forthcoming Green Paper will also explore how Ministers might deliver their world-leading domestic ambitions for nature, including how to improve the status of native species, such as the water vole and the red squirrel, and protect 30 per cent of our land by 2030.
I agree with you that deforestation must be tackled if we are to achieve our climate and biodiversity targets. Last year the Government set out its approach to tackling deforestation linked to UK demand for products such as cocoa, rubber, soya, and palm oil. Combined, the new package of measures will ensure that greater resilience, traceability and sustainability are built into the UK’s supply chains by working in partnership with other countries and supporting farmers to transition to more sustainable food and land use systems. The measures include the introduction of a new law in the Environment Bill which will require greater due diligence from businesses and make it illegal for UK businesses to use key commodities if they have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems.
Above all, I am pleased that in the year of COP26, the Environment Bill is at the core of delivering the Government’s manifesto commitment to deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth and leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking