Watch the video of the Green Alliance Event where George Eustice made this presentation (July 20th)
Defra July 20th ….. ‘This Government’s pledge is not only to stem the tide of loss, but to turn it around – to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. In a few months’ time the (Brexit) Transition Period will come to an end, and the UK will be free to chart a new course. It is an important moment for policy makers and nowhere more so than in our approach to the environment. As a country we have opted for the freedom to act and to decide our own environment policies in future. But with that freedom comes new responsibilities. It will no longer be the case that the UK can register a position as an outlier around the table during the development of a particular EU dossier, safe in the knowledge that a QMV voting system will always drive out something more nuanced. Instead we must learn to temper our own approach. And we will not be able to hide behind EU law when there are difficult decisions to make or indeed blame the EU when things don’t work. Instead we must level with people about difficult decisions and take responsibility for delivering the change that is required.
Tackling environmental challenges requires a long-term approach and political commitment to that journey – even when the political cycle can be short term. So we will shortly be publishing a paper that sets out our approach to setting long-term targets on biodiversity, waste, water, and air quality through the new Environment Bill, so they are established in time by October 2022.
We will shortly be launching the appointment campaign for the first Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection so that they will be in place to lead a new Public Body in 2021 – to scrutinise and assess progress towards these targets.