So you go on holiday after five months of constant change culminating in the Planning for the Future White Paper issued earlier this month and as detailed in Nicola Gooch's article.
You start to relax, enjoy the sunshine and the perfectly chilled wine and then up pops a notification which makes you switch right back to work mode. Today the Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP, has set out the ambitions and targets of what will under pin what is now being described as the 'landmark' Environment Bill, keeping up with the recent tradition of everything being world leading and beating and now landmark!
So what makes today's announcement so special? This comes after the planning white paper and it there are clearly overlaps between the two regimes. How we will set and monitor emissions is a key part of the environmental legislative regime, so for the Government to set 'strong and meaningful' targets for each of the four priority areas is a good thing. Developers and industry know what they are working towards, but it the setting of the targets which will be critical. We need to be fair, but robust in what we can and should be achieving. There has already been criticism of the downgrading of the Water Framework Directive targets which were announced earlier today - seen as a way of making sure we can hit them as opposed to pushing the boundaries of we can achieve. Therein lies the problem.
What is clear that we must 'build back better and greener' there does seem to be a genuine desire to do this and to bring this into the core of the modified planning regime.
Here's hoping anyway!
In other good news, recruitment is under way for the Office for Environmental Protection so hopefully this might be up and running in the New Year as promised.
Now for that chilled wine and hopefully no more announcements until September!
At least one “strong and meaningful” target will be introduced for each of the four priority areas for the Bill: biodiversity, air quality, water and waste. All targets will be deadlined for the mid-to-late 2030s and will be backed up with interim targets that will not be legally binding, to help spur early progress.