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Environment Secretary offers progress updates on key environment policy areas

30 January 2023

In response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s warning of a ‘culture of delay’ at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Secretary has set out progress updates on a number of environmental pledges made by Ministers.

In particular, the Environment Secretary indicates that a number of policy updates are expected in early 2023. These include the final programme of proposals to tackle textile waste, the final Environmental Principles Policy Statement and the revised National Action Plan for Pesticides. Policy options to address end-of-life fishing and agriculture gear are expected by the end of 2023.

On chemicals, the Environment Secretary explains that work with the devolved administrations to develop a chemicals strategy is ongoing: legislation on UK REACH is expected in 2024.

The Environment Secretary confirms that the Environmental Improvement Plan required under the Environment Act 2021 will be published on Tuesday 31st January.

Chair's comment

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said: 

“In November, we wrote to the incoming Environment Secretary with our concerns of a ‘culture of delay’ at DEFRA. I am pleased that she has demonstrated a commitment to getting a grip on delivery of the Government’s environmental pledges. Following the passage of the Environment Act in 2021— itself delayed—we have been keen to see the detail of Government policies intended to tackle mounting problems of waste and to enhance the environment for future generations. Now is the time for delivery.

“2023 will be a busy year for environment policy. Our Committee looks forward to examining each of these policy proposals in due course, to make sure they contribute positively to the Government’s stated objective of ‘leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.’

“The Environment Secretary will be appearing before the Committee next week and we look forward to exploring with her the points raised in the letter.”

Further information

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