How the Environment Bill could allow ministers to move the goalposts on water quality

While environmental campaigners and industry groups have broadly welcomed the publication of the government’s long-awaited Environment Bill, fears are mounting that certain sections appear to give the government a good deal of flexibility over key green protections.

One of the offending sections relates to water quality. Richard Benwell, a former special adviser to Michael Gove and now chief executive of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, warned in a scathing blog post that the bill included a government “power grab” in being able to change which water pollutants should be assessed - and in what concentrations - to determine water quality.

Green groups are particularly concerned given the UK is far behind its water quality targets, as set out under the Water Framework Directive. 

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