It is nearly two years since the Government published the outline Environment Bill, hailing it a ‘flagship’ piece of legislation.
However, the landmark Bill, which sets targets for improving air, water, waste and wildlife, has been absent from Parliament for more than 200 days, with no immediate sign of its return.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has recently backed a Wildlife Trusts movement aiming to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030.
But this commitment and promises made to invest in a greener future by the Government must be underpinned by a strong Environment Bill, says the Trust.
In Staffordshire, a strong Environment Bill, once made law, would support the charity’s aim of creating a Nature Recovery Network (NRN) for Staffordshire, setting local targets for biodiversity restoration and water quality, and helping deliver at least 30% of land managed for wildlife as a priority.
The Trust want the NRN to inform development plans to ensure they are appropriately located in order to conserve the county’s natural heritage.
Julian Woolford, Chief Executive of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “While we completely understood and agreed that the passage of the Bill had to be paused while the Government focussed its energies on fighting the pandemic, there has been no sight or sound of it for more than 200 days now, while other bills have been discussed and leapfrogged it during that time.
“We have been calling on the Government to put in place a strong Environment Bill to keep nature safe and allow it to flourish. A Nature Recovery Network, which is what we’re working towards in Staffordshire, will be hugely supported by a strong and robust Environment Bill.
“So, it’s been disappointing it appears to be missing, and is at odds with the recent promises made by the Prime Minister on achieving a greener future.
“Having a strong Environment Bill which protects our wildlife and our wild places now and for years to come would demonstrate to us that the Government is serious about what it is saying and not making hollow promises.
“It needs to bring it back to Parliament and set out that it is serious about seeing the Bill passed.”