UK Government publishes policy on setting targets under Environment Bill
On 19 August 2020, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) published a paper setting out the UK government’s plans for legally binding environment targets by October 2022. The paper explains the process and scope for developing these targets and includes the following required outcomes:
- the targets must last for at least 15 years with a defined level or quality which can be objectively measured; and
- they must be time-bound.
The UK government will issue guidance around each area of focus which will be fed into by scientific, transport and medical advice and be driven by environmental outcomes, adopt what is described as a systems-based approach and take account of relevant international best practice.
Details of the paper and proposed targets which include reference to air quality, waste reduction and biodiversity can be viewed here
The targets, set to be enshrined in law by 2022 are part of the UK government’s overall “Green Recovery” plan which aims to maximise the opportunities energy and renewables present in reviving the UK economy. It is pleasing to note that Scotland is being more ambitious with these targets e.g. reaching net zero in 2045 compared to 2050 in England and banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2032. We are looking forward to COP26 in Glasgow next year but we shouldn’t wait 12 months to develop sustainable energy policies which investors and funders are able to back and which enable the deployment of capital and the construction of projects as quickly as possible.
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