Gove: Shadow green watchdog to be ‘godfather’ to DEFRA family

The interim green watchdog, set up to record breaches of environmental law until the permanent Office for Environmental Protection is ready, will be a DEFRA arm’s length body, the environment secretary told a committee of peers yesterday.

Michael Gove told the House of Lords committee that the “shadow body” would be separate from DEFRA in both its location and operation because it is “important that it is seen as truly independent”. But under questioning, he conceded that due to the secretariat being funded by DEFRA grant-in-aid, it would officially be a non-departmental public body and part of the DEFRA family, leading peers to question its independence.

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