Environment Agency, Natural England and Office for Environmental Protection to appear before MPs
The Environmental Audit Committee will be hearing from the Chief Executives of the Environment Agency and of Natural England, before hearing from the Chief Executive and Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection next week.
During the one-off session, the Committee will look to take stock of the current challenges and opportunities facing the Environment Agency and Natural England as the arms-length bodies seek to enforce regulations intended to protect the environment. The Committee is likely to question the Chief Executives on the performance of their monitoring and enforcement activities, their staffing and spend, and their role in contributing to the delivery of the Government’s new Environmental Improvement Plan, expected by the end of January.
Following the panel with Environment Agency and Natural England, the Committee will then hear from the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). The evidence session follows publication of the OEP’s monitoring report on ‘Progress in improving the natural environment in England, 2021/2022’, in which the OEP concluded that “progress in protecting, restoring and improving the environment over the year under review falls far short of that required to meet the Government’s stated, longer-term ambitions.”.
Among the issues likely to be discussed are:
- The roles of each regulator in delivering the Government’s environmental goals
- Resourcing, skills and capacity in environmental and nature regulation
- The future regulatory framework for environment and nature
- The effectiveness of enforcement strategies