The Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment Contents


The Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment signals a cross-government ambition for the restoration and recovery of the natural environment. This is both welcome and necessary. Worryingly, however, it lacks details of how these objectives will be achieved. The Government needs urgently to bring forward details on targets, implementation, governance and funding before the publication of the draft Environmental Principles and Governance Bill. Legislation will be required to implement the Plan’s key proposals and to ensure it has a lasting impact. Government departments other than DEFRA need to embrace the Plan’s ambitions and integrate them into their decision making.

To meet the Government’s ambition, legislation is required, as a minimum, to:

The Government has made a commitment that environmental protections will not be weakened by leaving the European Union. The Government must be prepared to bring forward emergency environmental legislation, before the role of the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union in respect of the environment ends.

The Plan is primarily a Plan for England. However, environmental policy involves cross-border impacts and cross-border markets. There are benefits to the nations of the United Kingdom in agreeing co-ordinated policies, common frameworks and shared institutions in some areas of environmental policy. In particular, we heard compelling evidence that a co-designed and co-owned EEAO would be more resilient, independent and effective. The process of agreeing such policies, frameworks and institutions needs to be a conversation between Governments and legislatures, not an imposition from Westminster.

We believe that leaving the European Union poses a potential threat to delivering the goals set out in the Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment; in terms of the risk of reduced standards, lower enforcement powers, the threats to common frameworks and regulatory oversight.

Published: 24 July 2018