Environment Bill: What we learned from the committee stage

With the Environment Bill’s parliamentary journey suspended in light of the Covid-19 crisis, Simon Pickstone looks back at the key developments in MPs’ scrutiny of the bill this week.

Parliamentary scrutiny on the Environment Bill has ground to a halt as the government seeks to contain the rapid spread of Covid-19. But committee sessions over the past two weeks have brought more clarity on what the final bill may look like when it eventually returns to parliament. 

While nine of the sessions devoted to line-by-line scrutiny of the bill and its amendments have now been postponed to at least the end of April, the committee heard evidence from a broad range of industry groups and civil society actors. Nearly all pointed out areas where the bill could be improved, but given the government’s large majority, amendments will almost certainly need the backing of ministers to succeed.

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