Did you see all the progress we made with the Environment Bill this week? Eight government defeats with eight great amendments covering everything targets to principles; and from soil health to air pollution and human health. There is more to come next week with Natalie’s attempt to create UK support for the offence of Ecocide.
Our Green peers, Natalie Bennett and Jenny Jones, worked hard to make sure that the Lords passed amendments, which will:
Guarantee the independence of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) and stop the government directing its work. This is crucial because the OEP must be effective and free from ministerial ‘guidance’ to fulfil its role as an environmental watchdog, holding the Government and public authorities to account on compliance with environmental law and take enforcement actions if there are any breaches.
Protect soil health. Natalie pushed an amendment to protect the health and quality of soil to the floor and won. Responding to the pressure of the vote, the government agreed to produce a soil health strategy. But that does not remove the need for a soil target to match those for air and water.
Adopt the World Health Organisation targets for pollutant PM 2.5.Jenny promoted an amendment for the UK to adopt this target that tackles the fine particles which do the most damage to our health.
The Environment Bill presents a real opportunity to set standards for how we treat our planet and make sure that the government is held accountable for their actions. Greens are making sure that happens.
Now we need your help to put pressure on MPs to support the amendments when they reach the House of Commons and sign and share our petition to raise awareness. Can you speak to your MP and tell them that without these safeguards, the work of the EOP will be compromised from the start with minimal enforcement on all environmental legislation?