In a speech delivered last week, Environment Secretary Michael Gove talked about the big issues facing our natural environment and his ambitions for the upcoming Environment Bill.
Mr Gove said he wants the Environment Bill, publishing later this year, to set the world’s first legally-binding commitment to comprehensive environmental improvement in the areas where a critical difference can be made - improving air quality, water management, waste reduction and wildlife revival.
Mr Gove stated that the UK has ‘failed to properly live up to our obligations to improve air quality,’ and that the Government must be ‘pace-setters and not laggards’ regarding air quality after it leaves the European Union.
The ambitions for the Environment Bill include a legally binding commitment on particulate matter, so that no part of the country exceeds the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Moving to WHO limits would be an ambitious move as many UK cities are already struggling to meet the softer EU particulate matter targets, with city leaders from across the country putting pressure on Defra to better fund their attempts to improve air quality.
Mr Gove said that as well as setting tougher targets for air quality, the Government must improve the framework for local authorities to deliver cleaner air.
It is hoped the new Prime Minister will back this Bill and provide leadership on cleaning up the UK’s air.
The full speech is available to read on the Wildlife and Countryside Link website.