National Trust response to the new Environment Bill
Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust, said: “This new Environment Bill will help close the gap left in our laws by our departure from the EU. We welcome the Government’s ambition, and are thankful for its ongoing commitment to this essential legislation.
“However, there is still much more work to do for the UK to be a leader on the world stage in 2020 and address the ongoing declines set out by the State of Nature report last October. The Bill is currently not strong enough to fulfil the Government’s promise of there being no drop in environmental standards once we leave the EU.
“For example, the new watchdog - the Office for Environmental Protection - needs to be completely independent from Government. Otherwise it won’t be able to deter future governments from breaking environmental laws or take meaningful action when they do.
"Nature is in serious trouble, and the Bill itself doesn’t currently set the ambitious targets we need to improve it. It also doesn’t put the historic environment on a level playing field with the natural environment and only applies to England. We need to see a clear commitment to a shared approach to the environment across the UK. If we end up with different environmental legal structures the biggest loser could be the environment itself.
“We will keep working constructively with Government for these key improvements as the Bill goes through Parliament.”