Environment Bill: Former Gove adviser accuses government of ‘power grab’

A clause in the government’s landmark Environment Bill to give the environment secretary the power to change how water quality is measured has been described as a “power grab” by a former special adviser to Michael Gove during his time at DEFRA.

Richard Benwell, who is now chief executive of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, has highlighted in a new blog post that section 79 of the bill allows the secretary of state to amend legislation relating to which pollutants should be “taken into account in assessing the chemical status of surface water or groundwater” and “specifying standards” relating to those substances.

The secretary of state would also be able to change whether water bodies are classified as of good or poor quality. 

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