A new Environmental Bill could unlock billions in new investment in the UK by the environmental services sector
The Environment Bill, if designed properly, will also help to protect new investment made by the environmental services sector, says Jacob Hayler, Executive Director at ESA.
Earlier today, HM The Queen announced that “environmental principles will be enshrined in law” for the first time and that the legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament will include measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution, and restore habitats. According to the Queens Speech, new legislation will be introduced to create legally-binding environmental improvement targets, and a new “world-leading” independent regulator will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law; investigate complaints; and take enforcement action.
We welcome the prominence of environmental protection in the legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament, as set out in the Queen’s Speech today. If implemented correctly, a new Environmental Bill could unlock billions in new investment in the UK by the environmental services sector which, in turn, will help Government deliver on its ambitious plans to reduce waste; preserve natural resources; tackle the scourge of litter polluting our natural environment; and tackle waste crime – among wider environmental goals related to air quality, nature and water preservation and CO2 reduction.
Introduced in 1996, the Landfill Tax was a well-designed, effective, instrument which provided long-term legislative and economic clarity, thereby allowing our sector to invest billions over the past decade into new recycling and waste management infrastructure - reducing carbon emissions, moving waste material up the waste hierarchy and improving recycling rates from around 11 per cent in 2000 to nearly 50 per cent today.
Under the resources and waste strategy, major new reforms are coming which will have a profound impact on producers and the way things are made; how we collect materials when they are discarded; how we treat those materials and how waste services are funded. This will require major change and investment from the environmental services sector and the Environment Bill must provide the new legislative framework which will underpin this next phase of investment. ESA members have committed to investing ten billion in the UK over the next ten years, if given the right policy framework, which will create 50,000 jobs and deliver more than 40 million tonnes of CO2 savings.
The bill, if designed properly, will also help to protect this new investment made by our sector, by levelling the playing field and providing Government with new powers to tackle waste crime, which not only harms the environment, but costs the UK economy £600 million a year; undermines the sector; and threatens investment by legitimate operators.
We look forward to working with Government to ensure that the content of the bill will deliver on the shared environmental ambitions of both the Government and environmental services sector – by helping businesses in our sector plan effectively and invest with confidence.