On Thursday last week the government published the Environment Bill. The Bill sets out a number of key points, many of which are laudable, aimed at ensuring improved environmental protection post-Brexit. Hailed by government as an 'historic step change in the way we protect and enhance our precious environment' and 'transformative', the Bill announces (among other things):
- the creation of an independent Office for Environmental Protection
- the introduction of a 'biodiversity net gain' requirement for new developments
- the support of 'nature recovery networks' through the creation of 'nature recovery strategies'.
It seems, indeed, that there is 'bold ambition' for the conversation and enhancement of the natural environment. What is left to be clarified is the mechanism and resource for delivery. The details of the long-awaited 'net gain' proposal are yet to be announced, as is the method and agent for creating the nature recovery strategies, and at what level the Office for Environmental Protection will be funded.
The GLNP, with partners GWT, have almost completed a Nature Recovery Network map which will help place the environment at the centre of decision making.
Local Nature Partnerships were created, with encouragement but no financial support from DEFRA, in 2011 following the Lawton Report 'Making Space for Nature'. Our remit is that of putting nature at the heart of decision making (a phrase that is used in relation to this Environment Bill). If we are to be a delivery mechanism for some of the measures outlined in The Bill, we await, optimistically but not expectantly, confirmation of further support from government.
Read the full bill here - https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2019-2020/0003/20003.pdf