Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today (26th January) criticised the Government for postponing the Environment Bill by at least six months. The Government had previously declared the legislation as “landmark” and “vital” if the UK is to “maintain and improve our environmental protections as we leave the EU.” Mr Carmichael joined with his Liberal Democrat colleagues in writing to Environment Secretary George Eustice to urge the government to prioritise the Bill.
Speaking remotely in the House during the debate on the Bill, Mr Carmichael said:
“It is a matter of great regret that [the Bill] is being delayed further. This should be an area where there is an easy consensus to be built. Surely in the year when we are due to host COP26 this is an area where all parties can come together. If we are to have further delay then we must use the time to make the bill better.
“The Bill in respect of plastic pollution is a major disappointment. The progress that we were making on the use of single-use plastics has been put on the backburner and it really does require a concerted effort by government. Plastic pollution will be with us for decades and so we need to get on with the business of having meaningful targets.”
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson said:
“The Environment Bill is vitally important if we are to tackle the climate emergency and reverse the decline in our natural environment. It is extremely disappointing that in the year the UK hosts the COP26 climate conference, the Government is yet again delaying this bill.
“The Conservatives have promised to reward our farmers and land managers for improving our natural world - but without this bill it cannot happen. This is simply not good enough.
“Liberal Democrats are fighting to protect our environment and leave the world in a better place than we found it - failing to pass this bill now means further damage. Our environment cannot afford another delay.”