This week a landmark Environment Bill has been presented to Parliament by the Government to tackle one of the most pressing issues facing our generation, climate change.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:
“Our natural environment is a vital shared resource and the need to act to secure it for generations to come is clear.
“That’s why our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate.
“Crucially, it also ensures that after Brexit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government, both now and in the future.”
The UK is already a global leader in introducing environmental protections to ensure the planet is there for future generations to enjoy. The UK became one of the first countries to call for global action on climate change and in 2008 became the first country to introduce legally binding long-term emissions targets under the landmark Climate Change Act in 2008.
Since 1990, the UK has cut its emissions by 42 per cent while the economy has grown by two thirds. Working towards clean growth under the Conservative Government Britain has already had 1,500 coal free hours in 2019 so far, looking to phase out unabated coal completely by 2025. More than half our electricity now comes from low-carbon sources and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has confirmed that, “forecasts show that Britain is on track to generate more electricity this year from renewables than fossil fuels.”
Importantly, this year the government took an unprecedented decision to become the first major economy to target net-zero emissions by 2050.
This Environment Bill is another crucial, positive step towards protecting the planet. It will:
- Ensure that as we leave the EU we not only maintain our current environmental protections, but build on them.
- Create a legally-binding environment improvement targets in which a new independent Office for Environmental Protection will hold the government to account.
- Improve air quality.
- Enhance and protect the natural environment through a ‘biodiversity net gain,’ Nature Recovery Network and Local Nature Recovery Strategies.
- Improving our waste and recycling system.
- Protecting water resources.
However, turning the tide on climate change is not sole responsibility of the UK, but needs to be a global effort to make a significant, and long-lasting, change. The UK has been given the opportunity to host the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2020 where it will continue to encourage the international community to take stringent measures to reduce their carbon footprint, plastic pollution and protect their natural environment.
Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, commented:
“Unless we take action now, we will be facing the irreversible tide of climate change. While we can see the plastic pollution that blights our local beaches, thousands of miles away animals are facing extinction, the poorest communities are flooding and deforestation threatens our very environment. This is not a local issue, nor national, but a global threat in which the UK is leading the charge.
“I fully support the decisive steps that this Government is taking to ensure that we do not ruin our environment for good. This Environment Bill is just another positive step, one of many to come, that will work to protect our planet.”