It's been a busy week in Westminster. Photograph: UK Parliament It's been a busy week in Westminster. Photograph: UK Parliament

10 key things that happened this week

10 of the biggest stories from the past week: Boris Johnson commits to environmental ‘non-regression’; Former Gove adviser accuses government of Environment Bill ‘power grab’; Withdrawal Agreement Bill could set a course for green divergence, critics fear.

Boris Johnson commits to environmental ‘non-regression’

Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to introduce a legally-binding commitment that the government will not reduce green protections after Brexit.

His comments came during a high-stakes debate in the House of Commons that ended with a vote to reject the government’s agenda for scrutinising the Withdrawal Agreement Bill by Thursday, a timescale many MPs had criticised as insufficient given the importance of the legislation. MORE

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. MORE

Withdrawal Agreement Bill could set a course for green divergence, critics fear

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, presented this week, could lock the UK into negotiating a Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU that places less emphasis on environmental protections, observers claim. MORE

Atkins appoints new environmental lead

Consultancy Atkins has appointed a new lead for environmental practice across the UK and Europe. Dr Vicky Hutchinson took up the post of environment practice director earlier this month after leaving the construction services company ISG MORE

The UK’s increasing ammonia emissions in 3 charts

Ammonia pollution is increasing across the UK, mostly driven by a rise from Northern Ireland’s agriculture sector. Here are three charts illustrating the rise. MORE

Environment Agency seeks views on water pollution, nature and invasives

The Environment Agency has launched a consultation on the best way to address the multiple challenges facing the water environment, including pollution, resources, biodiversity and invasive species. MORE

Habitat issues delay nuclear power plant

Uncertainty remains over the future of Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station, after the energy secretary demanded more evidence about the effects of the scheme, including its impact on EU protected sites. MORE

Illegally dumped waste threatening water supply could cost authorities £9bn

The owner of a waste management firm has pleaded not guilty to dumping waste in a quarry in Somerset, an act which could cost the authorities up to £9bn to rectify. MORE

New technology can recycle all plastics, say scientists

Researchers in Sweden claim to have developed technology which will enable the recycling of all plastic waste back into new plastic products. MORE

Environment Bill: 10 shortcomings identified by critics 

The landmark Environment Bill would make significant changes to a range of green laws and sets out how a new post-Brexit watchdog would enforce environmental rules. But observers this week have identified a range of shortcomings since its publication. MORE

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