Draft environmental principles policy statement

The Environment Act 2021 requires the government to publish an environmental principles policy statement outlining how environmental principles should be interpreted and applied by ministers when making policy. A draft of the first statement to be made under the act was laid before Parliament on 11 May 2022 and is due to be discussed by the Lords on 30 June 2022.

Draft environmental principles policy statement

Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 5 of 2022-23

On 8 July 2022, the second reading of the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [HL] is scheduled to take place. This bill seeks to improve air quality in England and Wales. It would establish a human right to clean air and would require the government to limit the concentration of pollutants in the air in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines and scientific evidence.

Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 5 of 2022-23
  • In Focus

    Net zero: The global energy sector

    In May 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its energy roadmap which examined how the world can transition to a net zero energy system by 2050. It argued that although current climate pledges fall short of what is needed to meet this target, a viable pathway is still available. This article provides a summary of the IEA’s report and the UK government’s policy on net zero. It also considers the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global energy sector.

  • In Focus

    Ash dieback and the health of English trees

    Threats to UK trees have risen due to factors such as globalisation and climate change. The government has responded with a tree health resilience strategy, an England trees action plan and an updated plant biosecurity strategy. However, certain pests and diseases remain high-risk, including ash dieback. Several organisations are seeking to breed ash trees that are resilient to the disease and the government has published a strategy for preserving ashes.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Energy and climate change

    The Government has committed to reduce UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 and improve the security of the UK’s energy supply. It has said it intends to improve strategic planning in the UK’s electricity and gas infrastructure through the establishment of an independent future system operator. It has also said it will introduce measures intended to increase the use of hydrogen gas and carbon capture technology in the UK energy sector.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Agriculture, the natural environment and animal welfare

    The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto included commitments to protect the natural environment and improve animal welfare. However, the Government has yet to fulfil its manifesto commitment to introduce legislation banning imports of hunting trophies. The Government has proposed changes to the ways in which natural landscapes are managed following the 2019 landscapes review. It has also said it is considering measures to permit greater use of some gene-edited organisms in agriculture.

  • In Focus

    The UK’s horticultural sector

    In recent years, concerns have been raised about the horticultural sector’s workforce, including its dependence on foreign seasonal workers and the existence of a skills gap. The sector’s role in protecting the environment has also been discussed. This article considers both these issues and the Government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Changing the regulation of certain genetically modified plants: motion not to approve new laws

    New regulations would ease the regulatory process for the environmental release of certain genetically modified plants, for the purposes of their research and development. The Government believes the changes would make it easier for scientists to research possible innovations to improve agricultural crops. However, the regulations have attracted a lot of criticism and concerns. This article sets out some of the issues that have been raised ahead of a Lords debate on 14 March 2022 about whether the regulations should become law.

  • In Focus

    Glue Traps (Offences) Bill

    The Glue Traps (Offences) Bill is a private member’s bill that would make it an offence to use glue traps in England. Many groups consider the devices to be inhumane as they can cause trapped rodents and other animals to suffer. A licensing regime would permit exceptions for licenced pest controllers to use glue traps in exceptional circumstances.

  • In Focus

    Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL]

    The Office for Demographic Change Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill which would establish an independent demographic authority to analyse the impact of UK population change. This article summarises what the bill would do, and the background to the proposals.

  • In Focus

    Draft Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy

    The Government has published draft updates for a range of energy-related national policy statements first introduced in 2011. The statements provide guidance for those involved in determining development applications for major infrastructure projects. The Government has said the updates focus on regulatory, policy and technology changes.

  • In Focus

    Oil and gas industry: outside interests

    The Government has committed to phasing out global fossil fuel subsidies and to changing the way that oil and gas is licensed in the UK. However, environmental organisations have argued that outside interests, such as oil companies and climate sceptics, have too much influence on the oil and gas industry in the UK. This includes at board level of the industry’s regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, and through political donations.

  • In Focus

    Electric scooter regulation: should the law be changed?

    According to UK law, electric scooters can only be used on private land. However, the Government is considering whether the law should be changed. As part of this consideration, the Department for Transport introduced legislation in July 2020 to enable rental e-scooter trials to take place on public roads and cycle lanes across the UK. The Government awaits the outcome of these trials before making a decision on whether to change the law.

  • In Focus

    Jet Zero and sustainable aviation

    In July 2021, the Government launched a consultation on ‘Jet Zero’: its plans for decarbonising the UK aviation sector. Noting that while aviation currently contributes 2–3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the consultation observed that it is forecast to become the second highest residual emitter in 2050 as other sectors reduce their emissions. The consultation has now closed. The Government is currently analysing the responses and intends to launch its Jet Zero strategy in 2022, revealing how aviation will contribute towards ensuring the UK reaches net zero. This article looks at recent developments.

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