22 May 2019
A new review has shown that Defra has either delivered or are progressing on 90% of the actions from its 25 Year Environment Plan in the first year since its publication.
Since its January 2018 publication, substantial progress has been made on Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan's aim to produce a long-term approach to improving the natural environment in England, concludes a review by the department.
Arguably, the biggest achievement so far is the publication of the draft Environment Bill in December 2018, which Defra says ‘puts accountability for the natural world […] at the very heart of government’. The Bill aims to:
- Establish a pioneering new system of green governance
- Improve air quality
- Restore and enhance nature
- Improve waste management and resource efficiency
- Improve surface water, ground water and waste water management
Currently underway is the establishment of an Office for Environmental Protection, which will keep the government accountable for its adherence to environmental law and work on the delivery of the 25 Year Environment Plan.
Defra has released several white papers over the last two years that will help support the delivery of the Plan, including a Clean Growth Strategy (October 2017), Resources and Waste Strategy (December 2018) and Clean Air Strategy (January 2019). An ‘overarching’ Chemicals Strategy has also been promised although there is little indication of a timeline for this paper.
‘Through our landmark 25 Year Environment Plan and upcoming Environment Bill, we are committed to bold action on tackling plastic waste, reforming farming, protecting our landscapes and boosting wildlife. While progress is encouraging, we know there is still more to do,’ said Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment Thérèse Coffey.
Of the 40 priority actions laid out in the Plan, four have already been delivered, and 32 are in progress and on time to be delivered. The four actions that remain are in progress but have been delayed due to resources being redirected to supporting the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.