Peers’ challenge to government may see it arguing for lower environmental standards at home while hosting global summit. Ministers are facing a fortnight of showdowns with peers over weak post-Brexit green protections just weeks before the Cop26 summit on the environment.
An alliance of crossbench and opposition peers has tabled more than 100 amendments to the environment bill in an attempt to beef up protections for nature, air quality and water standards and give the new green watchdog more powers. With four sessions of parliamentary debate over the next two weeks, ministers may be in the position of arguing in favour of reduced domestic environmental standards while trying to claim a global leadership role before the Glasgow climate conference.
If the government is defeated, the legislation will ping-pong between the Commons and the Lords, a process that threatens to become more embarrassing for ministers the closer it gets to the November summit. The bill, which is in its final parliamentary stages in the House of Lords, is intended to replace EU environmental regulations and will create a new Office for Environmental Protection. Several amendments will focus on trying to give the green watchdog far stronger powers than the government has planned. (Click here to read more)