How the UK will improve environmental standards with the Environment Bill
Following the General Election in December 2019, the Environment Bill was re-introduced to Parliament on 30th January 2020 for its first reading, setting out the government’s commitment to tackle climate change and their efforts to protect and preserve the environment for future generations.
The Environment Bill will provide the legal foundation for the government to deliver the Resources and Waste Strategy (RWS), which was first launched in December 2018. The consultations outlined in the RWS will affect most businesses across the country, as well as the future of the UK’s waste management services. These consultations include creating a UK-wide plastic packaging tax, reforming the use of packaging through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), improving the consistency of recycling collections and the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Significant changes for Westminster businesses are therefore to be expected.
Ultimately, the government is aiming for the UK to become more resource-efficient over the next few years, encouraging the use of easy-to-recycle products and better waste management behaviour from businesses.
For a summary of the RWS consultations and the key elements that will affect Westminster businesses, download this version we created for you.
What is new in the Environment Bill?
Originally introduced to Parliament on 15th October 2019, the Environment Bill sets out measures to improve air and water quality, reduce pollution levels, transform waste management, restore plant and wildlife habitats and eliminate plastic pollution. The goal of the Environment Bill is to mitigate any resulting factors of Brexit coming into effect, ensuring environmental standards are maintained.
The current updated version of the Environment Bill presents two new requirements:
- Banning or restricting the export of harmful plastic waste to non-OECD countries (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). This ensures recycling remains in the UK and prevents waste from being shipped abroad to developing countries.
- A biennial review and report on significant developments in environmental legislation from around the world. In doing so, the government could gather findings and consider incorporating them into the UK’s environmental improvement plans. The aim is to be a global leader in using the most effective policies and legislation to further improve the state of the environment.
According to Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers, taking action against climate change with the Environment Bill is a big step in the right direction,
“We have set out our pitch to be a world leader on the environment as we leave the EU, and the Environment Bill is a crucial part of achieving this aim. It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste.”
What is next for the Environment Bill exactly? Members of Parliament will consider the Bill at a second reading at a future date. Find out more about the Environment Bill here.
Make sure your business complies with the law
Westminster City Council Commercial Waste Services actively follows any developments regarding the Environment Bill and the second round of consultations outlined in the Resources and Waste Strategy. As such, we want to make sure you are always kept up-to-date on any changes and help you make the necessary preparations, ensuring your business remains compliant with future regulations. We can provide the right advice and support to help your business stay within the law. If you have questions about waste and recycling, please talk to us and we can help you stay ahead of the game.