Agencies' duties and contaminated land dominate early stage of Environment Bill

The Environment Bill has emerged little changed from its Committee stage in the House of Lords. But peers are putting the Government under strong pressure to set out strategic duties for the new Environment Agencies in the Bill, while the duty on the Agencies to undertake cost-benefit assessments of their actions continues to cause controversy. Fierce business lobbying has already forced the Government to promise significant amendments to the Bill's provisions on contaminated land and liability. Other highlights have included CBI demands for a new "due diligence" defence and the retention of tripartite sampling for water pollution prosecutions, while the Government has promised to introduce amendments to give effect to its air quality strategy when the Bill reaches the Commons.

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