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Committee Chairs Question Powers of Stop-Gap 'Independent' Environmental Regulator

23 October 2020

Chairs of two House of Commons Select Committees have today written to Environment Secretary George Eustice, calling for transparency around the proposed 'interim' Office for Environmental Protection (OEP).

Delays to the Government's 'landmark' Environment Bill mean that the proposed new independent regulator (OEP), designed to hold the Government to account if it breaches environmental responsibilities, will now not be established as planned in time for the end of the Brexit transition period. Neil Parish, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and Philip Dunne, Chair of the Environment Audit Committee, have expressed concerns about an 'embryonic' stop-gap form of the OEP in a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Questioning the powers and structure of the provisional OEP, the two Committee Chairs ask for guarantees about the independence, governance and budget of the new body, and set a deadline of November 6th for a response from the Environment Secretary.

Image: Tim Hill from Pixabay