‘Taking Stock’ of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan

“Regrettably, environmental laws and government strategy and policy have not yet proved successful in significantly slowing down, halting or reversing biodiversity decline or the unsustainable use of resources or the pollution of the environment.”

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It was in late 2020 when the government appointed a new chair to its Office for Environmentatl Protection: 

The Office for Environmental Protection:

The Environment Bill will create a new, independent statutory body with the principal objective of contributing to environmental protection and the improvement of the natural environment. It will provide the necessary legal authority to implement long-term environmental governance.

  • The OEP will provide scrutiny and advice on the implementation of environmental law. It will also monitor and report on progress against Environmental Improvement Plans and targets.
  • The OEP will be able to receive and investigate complaints on alleged serious breaches of environmental law by public authorities. It will also be able to take legal action in serious cases if necessary as a last resort.

Dame Glenys Stacey appointed as chair of the Office for Environmental Protection – GOV.UK

Who we are | Office for Environmental Protection

And it was late last year that the OEP were approached with complaints on alleged serious breaches of environmental law by public authorities:

Looking after our rivers – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The OEP has just issued its first report – as seen on the front page of today’s WMN, and pretty much everywhere else:

‘Precarious’ state of environment must be national priority, Government warned | The Independent

Eco watchdog eyes legal threat over toxic air and water to force Government to meet obligations | Daily Mail Online

Environment tipping points fast approaching in UK, says watchdog | Green politics | The Guardian

Tackle ‘precarious’ state of nature with same urgency as climate crisis, government told | Climate News | Sky News

As covered by the sustainability media site edie:

Give nature the same priority as net-zero, post-Brexit environment watchdog tells UK Government

The UK’s post-Brexit watchdog for the environment has published its first full report monitoring green policy progress, stating that the Government’s action to date to protect and restore nature has not been “purposeful and coherent”.

Published today (12 May), the ‘Taking Stock’ report from the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) assesses progress to date towards the 25 Year Environment Plan. The Plan was launched in January 2018 under Theresa May, with the aim of supporting an overarching vision to leave nature in England in a better state for the next generation.

As many green groups and coalitions of MPs have concluded previously, the OEP’s report finds that progress towards the Plan’s goals has been slow overall, with nature in England continuing to undergo “worrying and persistent environmental decline”. The report outlines evidence documenting the decline of river water quality, persistent issues with poor air quality in urban areas, mismanagement of seafloor and several other negative trends. “Regrettably, environmental laws and government strategy and policy have not yet proved successful in significantly slowing down, halting or reversing biodiversity decline or the unsustainable use of resources or the pollution of the environment,” the report summarises.

The foreword to the report, written by OEP chair Dame Glenys Stacey, states: “The environment is under serious threat. Adverse trends are becoming increasingly difficult to arrest. Their impacts are more significant and risk becoming irreversible. In response, public concern is widespread and growing. There is recognition that a sustainable environment is not just nice to have, but essential for human wellbeing, progress and prosperity. Turning the tide to achieve this is exceptionally difficult, yet it is needed urgently for our wealth, health and wellbeing, and absolutely essential for the generations to come.”

Give nature the same priority as net-zero, post-Brexit environment watchdog tells UK Government – edie

   
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