The Environment Bill has been introduced to the House of Commons today for the first reading. This is where the Bill is formally introduced and ordered to be printed, there is no formal debate at this stage.

The next stage will be a second reading in the House of Commons, where the Bill will be debated, the date of which is to be confirmed. More detailed examination of the Bill will then follow in the committee stage, after which any amendments will be incorporated before proceeding to the reporting, third reading and debate of the Bill in the House of Commons.  Following this the Bill will be introduced to the House of Lords.

Information on the progress of the Environment Bill through Parliament can be found here.

The Government press release on this progress states the speedy return of the Bill to Parliament after the General Election underlines the government’s commitment to tackling climate change and to protecting and restoring our natural environment – read more here.

The Environment Bill makes provision for targets, plans and policies to improve the natural environment; for statements and reports about environmental protection and for the Office for Environmental Protection.  The Bill covers waste and resource efficiency, air quality, water, biodiversity.  This Bill will introduce conservation covenants; the regulation of chemicals and provisions to recall products that fail to meet environmental standards. Additions to the Bill include a commitment to a two-yearly review of significant developments in international legislation on the environment and a requirement for current and future Ministers to make a statement to Parliament identifying environmental impacts of all new environmental primary legislation.

The Bill makes provision for grants of planning permission to be subject to a condition to secure biodiversity gain to be a condition of planning permission, for a biodiversity gain register and for biodiversity credits. A requirement for 10% biodiversity gain to be achieved post development is set as is the use of a metric and provision of a biodiversity plan to be provided to detail the results of the assessment.

Watch this space for further updates and scrutiny on the Environment Bill.