To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for establishing the new independent Office for Environmental Protection; and what consultation process will be used to define strict new laws on air quality.
22 January 2020
The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) is to be operational from 1 January 2021. Subject to the passage of the Environment Bill, the OEP will therefore take on its full statutory functions from this date, including being able to receive and investigate complaints, take enforcement action, and provide scrutiny and advice including in relation to the 25 Year Environment Plan.
Our Clean Air Strategy (CAS) was published in 2019 following a thorough consultation exercise and included new and ambitious goals, legislation, investment and policies to clean up our air faster and more effectively. The Environment Bill delivers key parts of this CAS including outlining how new air quality targets will be set through an open and transparent, evidence-based process, which will include seeking independent expert advice and holding a public consultation. The targets and associated technical detail will be set in a statutory instrument via the affirmative procedure, and both Houses of Parliament will have the opportunity to scrutinise and debate the details and ambition of the targets before they are finalised.