FPA COMMENT ON ENVIRONMENT BILL

FPA COMMENT ON ENVIRONMENT BILL

PRESS STATEMENT 15 October 2019

 

FPA COMMENT ON ENVIRONMENT BILL

 

There are many positive proposals in the Bill but in aiming to improve our environmental protections when exiting the EU, can the proposed independent Office of Environmental Impact truly have the same power and bite as the fines that can be enforced by the EU for missing targets? What does ‘being held to account’ really mean? Does it mean the Government effectively fines itself? Also where does the hard working Climate Change Committee fit in with the proposals? It would be good to see their excellent work acknowledged.

Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is of critical importance and so the Bill must focus on those actions that make the biggest contribution towards achieving this commitment? Banning or applying levies to certain plastic items are easy wins but their contribution to the overall objective is far from substantial and there is a risk of unforeseen consequences.

We agree transforming the way we manage our waste is a priority and with businesses paying for the net cost they must also be at the heart of all policy making regarding how the funds are allocated. A key danger being that we see a shift in the way waste management is funded but we don’t see any improvement in the quality of collection, sortation and recycling.

We hope the promise of stricter litter enforcement will be delivered. We’ve had these promises before and yet the process for issuing fixed penalty notices for offenders is still haphazard between local authorities with some not enforcing at all.

With such a wide range of proposals it is most important the bill focusses on what actions will make the biggest difference to our environment and not fiddle at the edges so avoiding the possibility that in 10 years time plastic straws will have been banned but air quality is unchanged.