The government has announced (here) that a new environmental watchdog for England will be launched on an interim basis ahead of its formal establishment as part of the Environment Bill. From July 2021, the new Interim Office for Environmental Protection will be set up in non-statutory form to provide independent oversight of the government’s environmental progress and to accelerate the foundation of the full body.
The new Interim Office for Environmental Protection will be able to:
- Produce and publish an independent assessment of progress in relation to the implementation of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan
- Develop the Office for Environmental Protection’s strategy including its enforcement policy
- Receive complaints from members of the public about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law
- Take decisions on operational matters such as staff recruitment, accommodation and facilities
- Determine approaches for how the Office for Environment Protection will form and operate, establishing its character, ways of working and voice.
The Office for Environmental Protection will be formally established shortly after Royal Assent of the Environment Bill, which is now expected in the autumn.