Bill sets out environmental protections and body

  • Contributor information: CNP

20 December 2019

Campaign for National parks has been working with partners at Greener UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link to influence the Government’s Environment Bill to the benefit of National Parks.

The Westminster Government has set out its’ draft Environment Bill, the first sBeautiful Snowdonia National Parkuch Bill in 20 years. The draft Bill sets out plans for a new environmental watchdog called the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) and outlines environmental principles to be retained after leaving the European Union.

Campaign for National Parks recognises the importance of the Bill but is disappointed with the detail of the draft. In particular the lack of independence for the proposed OEP, which would put at risk its role in enforcing environmental protections for the National Parks, and the omission of climate change from the Bill.

Chief executive of Campaign for National Parks, Fiona Howie said: “Environmental governance, protections and ambition is essential to the future of National Parks. Without robust governance we risk losing the ability to enforce the protections we rely on in order to protect and enhance areas within the National Parks.

“Currently the EU and its directives provides protections and an environmental check on government. The government has been clear that Brexit will not result in a downgrading of environmental protections. This means we need strong new domestic legislation and a clear system of governance that can make sure those protections are enforced. This Bill, in its current form, will not deliver the same level of protections and this needs to be addressed as the Bill is scrutinised.”

Beautiful Snowdonia National Park. Photo credit: Snowdonia National Park Authority.

The Bill will now undergo a process of pre-legislative scrutiny. As part of the package of announcements made with the Bill, a consultation on draft environmental indicators was also launched.