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Queen’s Speech: Environment Bill to be introduced later this year

The Environment Bill will be introduced in the upcoming parliamentary year, says the Queen in a speech delivered at the House of Lords. 

In her speech, the Queen has outlined 30 laws that ministers intend to pass in the coming year.

One of these is the Environment Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons in January 2020.

The bill has since been delayed three times, with ministers stating that the Covid-19 pandemic left too little parliamentary time for debate.

The bill includes various environmental protection measures, these include the establishment of new environmental principles and legally binding environmental targets following the UK’s departure from the EU.

It also includes the creation of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – a new environmental standards regulator in England.

The Queen also announced a trio of bills on animal welfare that will ban the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter.

The Queen said: ‘My Government will invest in new green industries to create jobs while protecting the environment.

‘The United Kingdom is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and will continue to lead the way internationally by hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Legislation will set binding environmental targets  in the Environment Bill.’

Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF, commented on the speech: ‘With six months until the UK hosts the COP26 climate talks, environmental issues should be high on the Government’s agenda.

‘We’ve already seen ambitious commitments for climate and nature, but if the UK is to be truly world-leading, this parliamentary session must be when the Government actually delivers for our planet – starting with a strengthened Environment Bill.

‘Ministers must now set legally binding targets to reverse the decline of nature in England by 2030, alongside tackling the UK’s global environmental footprint, including the transition to sustainable supply chains.

‘The UK Government must also keep 1.5C on the table by publishing a concrete action plan for delivering net-zero, and committing to a net-zero test for overall government spending.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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