Environment Bill: Government urged to tweak target setting process

The provisions in the Environment Bill requiring ministers to set binding environmental targets risk leading to only piecemeal improvements without a rethink of how they function, MPs heard on Thursday.

Richard Benwell, the head of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, told members of the public bill committee scrutinising the Environment Bill that the current targets framework “could be satisfied by setting a single target in each of the four areas of air, water, waste and wildlife”. 

While expressing confidence that the government did not intend to use the provision in this way, Benwell, who worked as a policy adviser for Michael Gove when he was environment secretary, suggested three ways to make sure ministers set genuinely holistic targets. 

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