Environment secretary Theresa Villiers is now in charge of DEFRA group changes. Photograph: Claire Doherty/Getty Images Environment secretary Theresa Villiers is now in charge of DEFRA group changes. Photograph: Claire Doherty/Getty Images

10 key things that happened this week

10 of the biggest stories from the past week: DEFRA group ‘transformation’ risks damaging EA’s ‘ability to deliver’; EA plans more charges and tests whether its services ‘could be delivered by others’; Net gain: government abandons biodiversity compensation tariff and more...

DEFRA group ‘transformation’ risks damaging EA’s ‘ability to deliver’

The merging of the Environment Agency’s corporate service functions with DEFRA continues to pose a risk to the regulator’s ability to deliver, according to its annual report. MORE

EA plans more charges and tests whether its services ‘could be delivered by others’

The Environment Agency is considering whether some of its services and investments could be undertaken by other bodies as it prepares for the upcoming spending review, its latest annual report reveals. MORE

Net gain: Government abandons biodiversity compensation tariff

The government’s flagship mandatory biodiversity net gain policy will not include a tariff on biodiversity loss from development due to the potential bureaucracy of such a scheme, DEFRA has announced. MORE

Environment Bill policy statement: 9 things you need to know

Late last week before Michael Gove was replaced as environment secretary at DEFRA, his department  set out further details of its progress towards the introduction of the Environmental Bill in a policy statement and a series of consultation responses on proposed biodiversity, waste and water policy changes. MORE

Court of Appeal rejects Thames Water challenge to £2m fine

Thames Water’s legal challenge to one of the largest fines ever imposed for an environmental offence has been quashed by the Court of Appeal, describing the company’s track record as “little short of lamentable”. MORE

DEFRA to reconsider future use of metaldehyde after legal challenge

DEFRA has said it will reconsider introducing restrictions on an environmentally harmful chemical used in slug pellets after a legal challenge forced it to withdraw an earlier ban. MORE

EA: ‘No-deal Brexit could boost waste crime’

The challenge of illegal waste activity “may well increase”, should the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned. MORE

Natural England fails to hit pre-planning advice deadlines for 1 in 5 applications

“Resourcing challenges” are damaging Natural England’s ability to give developers and councils pre-planning advice on time, its latest report shows. MORE

EA in contact with Sri Lanka over suspected hazardous waste dump

The Environment Agency has confirmed it is in contact with the Sri Lankan authorities over reports that illegal hazardous waste from the UK – reportedly including suspected human remains – has been discovered at the port of Colombo. MORE

Groundwater levels set to remain low ‘for some time’, warns stakeholder group

It could be “quite some time” before England’s water supplies recover from a very dry spring, according to the latest conclusions of a meeting of water companies, environmental groups and government departments. MORE

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