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Economic Growth: Environment Protection

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 63296, tabled on 23 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that changes to regulations and environmental protections designed to stimulate economic activity do not undermine environmental targets set out in (a) the 25-Year Environment Plan, (b) the Environment Bill, (c) the Agriculture Bill and (d) net zero legislation.

Answered on

29 June 2020

The Government has no current plans to amend regulations and environmental protections in order to stimulate economic activity.

However, as we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are working to deliver a fairer, greener and more resilient future. We will ramp up our world-leading work on our ambitious legislative agenda through our landmark Environment and Agricultural Bills. These bills will work hand in hand to protect and recover our precious natural environment and diverse ecosystems in line with our 25 Year Environment Plan to leave the environment in a better place than we have inherited it.

The 25 Year Environment Plan will be adopted as the first statutory Environmental Improvement Plan under the Bill. The Environment Bill also creates a power to set long-term, legally-binding environmental targets. It requires Government to set, and achieve, at least one long-term target in four priority areas: air quality, biodiversity, water, and resource efficiency and waste reduction. We want them to be ambitious, credible, and supported by society. As a first step we expect to publish a Target Policy Paper over the coming months which will include further details about the target-setting process that we will be implementing.

The net zero challenge remains and we need to transform our economy over the next three decades to end our contribution to climate change. In the UK we’ve already shown how to grow the economy while cutting emissions and we will continue to lead the world as we respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19 and develop our net zero strategy in advance of COP26.