There is national and trade coverage including in BBC News Online, BusinessGreen, Circular Online and Agriland of our plans to protect the environment at the heart of future policy.Coverage notes that UK ministers have published environmental principles that will inform future government decision-making.
The landmark Environment Bill will create a duty on ministers across Whitehall to be guided by five internationally recognised environmental principles when making policy – protecting the environment for the next generation and demonstrating to the world that the environment is at the front and centre of the Government’s work, ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
These principles are:
- The integration principle is the principle which states that policy-makers should look for opportunities to embed environmental protection in other fields of policy that have impacts on the environment.
- The prevention principle means that government policy should aim to prevent, reduce or mitigate harm.
- The rectification at source principle means that if damage to the environment cannot be prevented it should be tackled at its origin.
- The polluter pays principle is the principle that those who cause pollution or damage to the environment should be responsible for mitigation or compensation.
- The precautionary principle states that where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, a lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
The BBC coverage reports the document exempts HM Treasury and the Ministry of Defence from being bound by the principles.
We have made clear that the exemption for taxation, spending and allocation of resources will apply only to the allocation of funding to departments or agencies. It is not an exemption for any policy that requires spending. National security and defence policy is highly sensitive, and covers the defence of our nation to prevent harm, save lives or deal with a threat. This is why matters of this nature are exempted from the environmental principles duty.
The Government is consulting on the draft policy statement on the five environmental principles which sets out how they should be interpreted and proportionately applied.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
“We want to embed the environment in the design, development and delivery of the Government’s work.
“Our environmental principles are essential, and will ensure that ministers across Whitehall are guided to not just protect the environment, but tackle problems at their origin.
“This will deliver our pledge to leave the environment in a better state for future generations.”