|By signing this petition you will help us:
Create an Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) that has independence of funding and appointments, along with the ability to take court action against the government and other public bodies when they get things wrong
Stop the government directing the OEP's work or hiding reports.
Commit the UK government to work to make ecocide an international crime
Ensure improving soil health and quality is at the centre of the Bill
Ensure that Ministers MUST meet targets, interim targets and stick to environmental principles
The Lords will be debating and voting on some crucial amendments in September/October. If passed, these will return to the House of Commons for them to consider. We need your help in making the case for a strong Environment Bill that will protect human health and enhance nature. Some of these crucial amendments are described below.
- One amendment relates to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017/1012 which simply goes through and replaces the word ‘may’ with ‘must’.
- Another amendment replaces all the 'due regard' clauses with Ministers having to stick to the environmental principles and rules. So instead of Ministers having the option of acting, or not acting, to protect our most precious natural areas, this would ensure they have to conserve biodiversity and protect human health.
- Natalie is supporting the big push by NGOs to make it a duty for the environment minister to set a target to halt, and begin to reverse, the decline in the state of nature in England, as soon as reasonably practicable, and no later than 2030.
- Jenny is backing seven amendments on air pollution, including the WHO standards for particulates being written into UK law and achieved by 2030 at the latest.
- Another amendment requires that local authorities have a similar duty to protect biodiversity. Natalie has also spoken about why the armed services need to be covered by the Environment Bill, rather than exempt.
- The UK Government used to report environmental failings and successes to the EU. One of Jenny's amendments requires the government to report on air pollution, water quality, waste etc. to the new Office for Environmental Protection.
- Natalie backed an amendment that would ensure that all the research that guides the OEP decisions is publicly available and that government, along with other organisations, have to release environmental information in line with the Arrhuse Convention. This could be the basis of partnership working. For example, a great deal of this information would also be of great use to farmers.
- There are a large range of amendments regarding the powers and independence of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). The Government say 'trust us, we don’t have any ill intentions', but the point is not who the current Minister is, or what the Government of the moment’s intentions are. If this organisation is not to fail to protect biodiversity and our natural habitat - as Nature England and the Environment Agency both failed - then it needs to be truly independent and underpinned by strong legal principles.
- Another amendment gives the OEP the power to impose fines for government bodies that fail on the environment, with the money going to the NHS for treatment of those suffering the impacts of air pollution. These amendments combined would give the Office for Environmental Protection some teeth.