As set out in the 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment, the decision to leave the European Union has created an historic opportunity to deliver a Green Brexit, where environmental standards are not only maintained but enhanced.
Draft clauses to be included in the Environment Bill on environmental principles and governance have now been published. These draft clauses will be central to the new Environment Bill and will place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government. I am encouraged that these clauses are only part of a broader Bill, which will include legislative measures to take direct action to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age: air quality, nature recovery, waste and resource efficiency, and water resource management. More detail on all policy areas will be published in due course.
The draft clauses set out how a new system of green governance will be created, establishing an independent Office for Environmental Protection, to ensure we succeed in leaving the environment in a better condition than we found it. The draft clauses also place our 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing, and introduce a set of environmental principles that will be used to guide future government policy making.
In the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government committed to developing a Nature Recovery Network and, in the long term, to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside the protected site series. I am encouraged that action is being taken to protect wildlife sites and to restore and create wildlife-rich habitats, and that investment is being made to aid species recovery.
Outside the EU Britain can develop global gold standard environmental policies, taking a more targeted approach. Having left the Common Agricultural Policy we can use public money for public goods, rewarding environmentally responsible land use. Meanwhile, by leaving the Common Fisheries Policy we will be able to grant access and allocate quotas based on sustainability, allowing us to pursue the highest standards in marine conservation.
Thank you for all of those contacting me regarding the event on the 24th of April - Let Nature Sing - hosted by RSPB. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to prior Parliamentary commitments but this is a subject I follow with interest.