Coloured houses on water front marshland

A new nature and environment commission for the UK

In a report being published today, environmental lawyers ClientEarth outline the legal powers the new green watchdog will need to uphold environmental law and build on EU enforcement mechanisms after Brexit.

The UK Government is consulting on plans “to set up a world-leading environmental watchdog, to hold Government to account for upholding environmental standards.”

The new independent body should have the power to issue formal notices that require particular actions by government or public bodies to meet their environmental duties.

And courts should be empowered to back up the words of the body, giving legal teeth to its expert advice.

ClientEarth law and policy advisor Tom West said: “We need a powerful environment watchdog that can speak up for our nature and countryside and hold the government and public bodies to account.”

“If the government wants to make good on its ‘world-leading’ promises and improve compliance with environmental law, the new green watchdog should have the legal powers to truly make a difference.”

Other countries already have similar safeguards, like in Colombia, where the Supreme Court of Justice recently ordered the government to draw up plans to reduce deforestation in the Amazon to zero.

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Nick Fewings

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