Environment Bill: Legal principles remain source of contention

The scope of a new set of environmental principles, as set out in the government’s mammoth Environment Bill, retains loopholes that have previously come under fire from legal experts and green groups.

Draft passages of the bill, published in December 2018, gave ministers a degree of flexibility in how they approach a new set of environmental principles, modelled on those found in EU law, and for exempting activities relating to national security from those principles.

These exemptions remain in place in the new bill. Ministers do not need to consider the principles for anything related to the armed forces, defence and national security, nor for tax and spending decisions. Legal experts have previously voiced concern over the exemptions, noting that they are not matched in EU law.

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