Red card for government to reduce air pollution

The Government has been given a ‘red card’ for its efforts to reduce air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding in a scorecard assessment of its green policies during this Parliament produced by the Environmental Audit Committee.

The report comes as the main political parties prepare for their manifesto-setting party conferences.

The Committee calls for the creation of new legal commitments to protect the environment, to be overseen by a new ‘Office for Environmental Responsibility’ to ensure all Government policies are compatible with those commitments.

Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, said: “Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly. A dedicated, wide-ranging ‘Environmental Strategy’ is needed, overseen by a new ‘Office for Environmental Responsibility’ to ensure the Government meets the requirements to protect human health and the natural world.”

The Committee’s report recommends an overarching Environmental Strategy be implemented, to set out strategic principles and good practices; facilitate discussion between central and local government and identify how they can work together and with the wider community; encompass clear environmental assessments; identify work required to fill data gaps in assessments; map appropriate policy levers to environmental areas; and set out how environmental and equality considerations will be addressed in policy areas across Government. This would be overseen by Office for Environmental Responsibility.

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