Westminster Energy Environment and Transport Forum

Innovation Director Ruth Bastow attended the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum on environmental standards and the Office for Environmental Protection on Feb 6th in London.

The meeting covered the newly announced Environment Bill, which aims to fill the legislative gap left by the UK’s departure from the EU. One of the aspects announced in the bill is the establishment of “independent watchdog”, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

It is proposed that the OEP will hold the government to account on long-term, legally-binding targets in relation to biodiversity, air quality, water and waste management as well as its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The role and scope of the OEP as well as its relationship to other bodies such Natural England was discussed.

Although it was made clear the government wants to take a firm stand and leadership role in tackling climate change and protecting the environment, the lack of clarity around the OEP led many in the audience and a few of the speakers to query whether or not the new office would have the independence and clout required to fulfil its role.

As always the devil will be in the detail…

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