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BBC Environment News
Here is the latest on environment news:
Fears Over ‘Weakening’ Of UK Green Watchdog
Many environment activists feel that the legal body designed to protect the environment on behalf of the citizens is not being given its due credit. The Independent Office for Environment Protection (OEP) has promised to frame new laws on air, water and waste after Brexit. Before Brexit, these laws were dictated by the European courts. These courts prosecuted those governments that breached their laws. But after Brexit, OEP promised that the new green laws will be independent. But now, they are demanding the power to ‘advise’ the new elected legal body. This was recently revealed in the new Environment Bill. As per some critics, this decision will prevent the OEP to drag the ministers to court in case of a breach of law.
As per Ruth Chambers from the umbrella group Greener UK, this bill gives the government an opportunity to distract the watch dog from running into awkward or inconvenient cases. This bill also undermines independent claims. As per ruth, this bill is a weakening of the environmental protection act. She also added that this bill is putting nature, water and air quality at a greater risk. She has asked the ministers to reconsider this decision. But the government insisted that it is committed to protecting the independence of the OEP. It also said that the body should focus on more serious cases.
Power To Scrutinize
The spokesperson said that the Environment Secretary will not have the rights to intervene in decision-making of individual cases. The new Bill will also ensure that the body will have the power to scrutinize environmental policies and law, investigate complaints and take action where necessary.
But Greener UK’s concerns are greater at the moment. A member of the body, Dr Stephanie Wray echoed the same concern by saying that the government suggests that the OEP should only focus on the serious cases. This also meant that only big and high-profile cases affect the environment seriously. She added that small-scale breaches also add up to environmental stress. She added that by this Bill, the government will have the power to override the independence of the OEP by directing it towards particular cases that have ulterior political motives. They might direct the OEP not to focus on waste management, circular economy, water framework or other such areas.
This is what we have in the latest BBC environment news this week. Stay tuned to know more and get the latest updates on this case as well.