The MPs, including conservatives James Gray and Zac Goldsmith and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, all of whom sit on the Environmental Audit Committee, have signed a pledge devised by thinktank Greener UK aimed at “setting the UK on the path to restoring nature and improving our environment for generations to come”.
Defra Statement: Draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill 2018
22 Dec 2018
Signatories to the pledge call on the government to “secure the recovery of nature and a healthy environment for the benefit of people and wildlife”.
The pledge demands ambitious legally binding targets “to clean up our air, seas and rivers; return our soils to health; ensure resilient ecosystems on land and at sea; recover our native biodiversity; improve access to green space; address climate change; and reduce waste”.
The pledge also calls on the government to create nature recovery networks to contribute to delivering these targets, and to establish an independent watchdog with the powers to hold the UK government and public bodies to account.
The government’s intention to put some of these measures in place have already been set out in the draft Environment Bill, 25-Year Environment Plan and the Resources and Waste Strategy.
The MPs say the Environment Bill should “reflect our commitment to reducing our global environmental footprint, and restoring nature overseas”.
The pledge notes that the environment does not respect borders and that high standards for the environment will be necessary across the whole of the UK. It says future environmental protection and legislation will therefore work best where it is co-designed and co-owned by all four countries, “whilst respecting the devolution settlements”.