BBC News today (11 April) reported on “rumours” that Defra’s 25-Year Environment Plan may not be published at all, following delays. The news outlet also claimed to have a draft version of the Plan.
Within the draft document, BBC News noted there are many references to the policy opportunities offered by Brexit, “which will allow the UK to make its own rules on waste and resources.”
It says pledges in the document, include:
- Our water will be cleaner and healthier
- Our plants and wildlife will be healthier and our habitats better managed
- Our air will be of better quality
- Our seas will be cleaner
- Our country will use resources more efficiently
- Our country will develop a low carbon economy
BBC News, however, states “green groups” say the document “lacks policies”.
The Woodland Trust said: “We have been waiting for the 25-year plan for over a year. This version is 46 pages of empty words, and now it seems the final plan might not even be published. This is not good enough.
“The government must uphold strong and effective laws to protect the environment. This is especially important as the UK is leaving the EU, so the laws and funding that we have depended on to protect nature for many years are under threat.”
Defra – “We want everyone to have a say on building polices that enable our environment to thrive, which is why we’re working closely with a range of environmental and conservation groups and businesses to develop proposals.”
A spokesperson for Defra told CIWM Journal Online that it is “committed to publishing a long-term plan that builds on our long history of wildlife and environmental protection, and sets out a new approach to managing the environment.”
It also repeated its ambition to be “the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”
Defra states: “We want everyone to have a say on building polices that enable our environment to thrive, which is why we’re working closely with a range of environmental and conservation groups and businesses to develop proposals.”
Defra states the decision to leave the EU meant the Deprtment needed to “take stock” and consider its long-term approach to managing the environment.
“Since the EU vote, we have been working closely with a range of environmental and conservation groups and businesses to develop initial proposals, which will form the basis of our wider engagement,” the spokesperson said, highlighting the Great Repeal Bill will ensure the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law, providing businesses and stakeholders with “maximum certainty” as we leave the EU.
“We will then have the opportunity, over time and via Parliamentary scrutiny, to ensure our legislative framework delivers our goal of an improved environment,” the spokesperson added.