The Environment Bill 2020
The Environment Bill was first introduced in 2019, but then put on hold for the general election and reintroduced in 2020.
The Environment Bill is much broader in scope than the Clear Air Strategy, setting out how the Government plans to protect and improve the natural environment in the UK. It is intended as one of the key vehicles for delivering the vision set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, which is broader still.
The proposed Bill includes details on:
- creating a new governance framework for the environment
- a new direction for resources and waste management
- improving air quality
- securing our water services
- enhancing our green spaces
- updating laws on chemicals (REACH)
In regard to improving air quality, if the Bill is passed then local authority air quality managers could see changes to the way they work in the following areas:
- New more stringent targets for fine particulate matter levels.
- Changes to the legislative framework provided by the Environment Act 1995 and Clean Air Act 1993, which together cover a range of air quality management powers and obligations.
- Simplification and strengthening of the local air quality management framework (LAQM).
- New measures to reduce emissions from of fine particulate matter from domestic solid fuel burning, through a simpler smoke control mechanism.
Additionally, it is intended that the Bill will introduce a new power to compel vehicle manufacturers to recall vehicles for environmental non-conformity or failure, though it is unlikely that this power would be enacted at a local level.