Government announces new Bill to provide environmental protection after Brexit

Environment Secretary Michael Gove
Environment Secretary Michael Gove

The UK Government has announced a new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill to ensure that environmental protections will not be weakened post-Brexit.  

A consultation has started on the contents of the Bill, which will see a body being established to hold the Government to account for environmental outcomes and legislation.  


The body will support the Government’s pledge to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than when it was inherited. 

It will provide examinations and advice as the UK aims to protect and improve its environment.  

Subject to consultation, the new body could be responsible for:  

  • Providing independent analysis and advice on existing and future Government environmental law and policy 
  • Responding to complaints about the Government’s delivery of environmental law 
  • Holding Government to account publicly over its delivery of environmental law and exercising enforcement powers when needed.  

The Government is also consulting on its intention to require ministers to produce a statutory policy statement, which sets out how it will apply environmental principles.  

While these principles are already central to Government environmental policy, they are not set out in one place except in EU treaties. 

The new Bill will allow governments to continue to have regard to vital environmental policies through the statement.  

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will not weaken environmental protections when we leave the EU. A new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will ensure core environmental principles remain central to government policy and decision-making. This will help us to deliver a Green Brexit and the vision set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan. 

“But we will only achieve our aims by also creating a strong and objective voice that champions and enforces environmental standards. That’s why our Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will also create an independent and statutory watchdog. This will hold governments to account for delivering their commitments to the natural world.” 

This Consultation will run for 12 weeks and ask for opinions on the most effective way for the new body to hold Government to account, including the power to issue advisory notices.  

The Bill will be published as a draft in the autumn, said DEFRA, and will be introduced early in the second session of this parliament to ensure these measures are implemented by 2020. 

A public consultation on the environmental principles policy statement will follow. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.