People with placards and posters on a global strike for climate change.

Government sets out “legally binding” targets with Environment Bill

 

The Government has announced how it will use the Environment Bill in order to get closer to reach the UK’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Four long-term targets have been set out by Government, covering the key areas of environmental concern.

These long-term targets will be supported by interim targets to ensure that the plans stay on track – setting out the five-year trajectory, with the government providing annual reports on the progress.

The four priority areas, and proposed objectives for targets, include:

  • Air quality: To support our robust action to improve air quality across the country, we will explore targets focusing specifically on reducing public exposure to fine particulate matter, the air pollutant that has the most significant impact on our health.
  • Resource efficiency and waste reduction: Potential targets will look to increase resource productivity and reduce the volume of residual waste and plastic pollution we generate.
  • Biodiversity: We will explore targets to restore and create wildlife-rich habitats in our protected sites on land, in freshwaters and at sea and in the wider countryside, and to increase species populations on land and improve marine biodiversity.
  • Water: We will also look to set targets to tackle pollution from agriculture and waste water to improve water quality, as well as a target on water demand to reduce the volume that is abstracted.

To hold the Government to account, the new environmental watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, will also report annually on the progress that has been made in improving the natural environment in accordance with these targets.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“The targets we set under our landmark Environment Bill will be the driving force behind our bold action to protect and enhance our natural world - guaranteeing real and lasting progress on some of the biggest environmental issues facing us today.

“I hope these targets will provide some much-needed certainty to businesses and society, as we work together to build back better and greener.”

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