‘Damaging and unjustified’: Environment Bill secrecy clause must go, NGOs urge

The government must drop secrecy provisions contained in the Environment Bill that would force the new green watchdog to withhold information about the organisations it is investigating, according to a group of 36 NGOs.

Writing to environment secretary Theresa Villiers, the group, co-ordinated by the Campaign for Freedom of Information and signed by NGOs including Friends of the Earth, the National Union of Journalists, WWF, the Good Law Project, ClientEarth and Transparency International, said the prohibition on disclosure is “wholly at odds with the public’s right to information under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)”. 

The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill would establish a new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to replace some of the functions of the European Commission once the UK leaves the EU, including investigating public authorities that fail to comply with environmental laws. 

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