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ClientEarth Communications

11th January 2018

Climate accountability
Wildlife & habitats

25 year plan for the environment full of empty promises

The UK government’s 25 year plan for the environment is underwhelming and does little to help people and the planet now.

As the UK is leaving the EU, strong nature laws are more important than ever. With ClientEarth taking the government to court for a third time over illegal levels of air pollution, and plastics threatening the life in our seas, our environment needs real action from government.

Today’s long-awaited 25 year environment plan gives us some idea as to the government’s nature protection plans. But none of these new policy commitments are underpinned by law.

ClientEarth Director of Programmes Karla Hill said: “The 25 year plan makes the right noises about how our environment will be protected in the coming years. But it makes no solid commitments to new law and it lacks any detail about how we will enforce environment laws once we leave the EU.”

“The government has repeatedly said the UK will be more ambitious and lead on the environment once we leave the EU. They need to prove that they really mean it and make policies and targets legally binding, or risk the future of the UK’s environment. We need proper protection for our air, rivers, nature and wildlife, not more empty promises.”

The Prime Minister reaffirmed Michael Gove’s promise of a new ‘world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account’ once we leave the EU.

Currently, EU institutions like the Commission oversee much of the proper implementation and compliance of our environmental law.

Hill added: “Outside of the EU, the UK needs a fully independent body with real powers to make sure our governments live up to their environmental commitments – or we risk environmental law being ignored. We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to consulting on a new enforcement body, which needs to be underpinned by law.”

By showing how we can meet and exceed ambitious targets with proper laws, we can become world-leading stewards of the environment.