20 December 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Environment secretary Michael Gove this week published draft clauses on environmental principles and governance for inclusion in a broader environment bill to be introduced in 2019.
The government said the environment bill would "create a new framework for environmental governance, demonstrating this government's strong commitment to maintain environmental protection as we leave the EU".
A separate statutory body would "provide independent scrutiny and advice, and hold the government to account on development and implementation of environmental law and policy", he said.
The government believes the independent body should have "a clear remit, acting as a strong and objective voice for environmental protection".
Gove said: "We have published our draft clauses for the environment bill which set out how we will create a pioneering new system of green governance, placing our 25- year environment plan on a statutory footing.
"We will explore options for strong targets to improve our environment, and provisions on air quality, waste and water resource management, and restoring nature. Our ambition is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it. We will keep building on our successes by enhancing our environmental standards and delivering a Green Brexit."
John Alker, director of policy and places at UKGBC, said the bill represented "some welcome ambition from government".
But Aiker added: "Our built environment has a huge impact on nature and biodiversity, and ensuring we protect and enhance our natural assets is vital, not least for our own health and well-being. This bill should give clarity to construction and property businesses on environmental principles and provide the policy certainty to raise the bar on standards.
"With fewer than 100 days until Brexit, it is crucial that this bill has the teeth to ensure our environmental protections are not weakened by our exit from the EU. We look forward to working closely with industry and policymakers to ensure the final outcomes deliver for nature and help achieve a truly a sustainable built environment."