Yesterday, the Environment Bill finally returned to the Commons after months of delay. It’s taken nearly four years to get to this point, and we have now found out that it will be at least another six months before the Bill becomes law.
As I said in the Commons yesterday (watch clip here), this has left a dangerous regulatory gap now that we are no longer in the European Union. The Government has also broken its promise to base the new Office of Environmental Protection in Bristol – we have just found out it will actually be located in Worcester.
I supported many Labour amendments to improve the Bill, including new measures to strengthen air pollution targets, stop the devastating decline of biodiversity and force the Government to seek Parliamentary scrutiny when approving harmful pesticides like bee-killing neonicotinoids.
Frustratingly, the Government chose to vote down these common-sense amendments, but we will have another opportunity to try to strengthen the Bill on the second day of debate in May and when the Bill goes before the House of Lords.