“When we are facing a catastrophic collapse in nature alongside the climate emergency, we desperately need an Environment Bill which will address the crisis. Unfortunately, this isn't it.
“An Environment Bill which actually weakens our current environmental protections is barely worthy of the name. This Bill takes us backwards in so many areas.
“The protections we’ve enjoyed for years under the EU are being watered down, despite ministers’ promises that there would be no backsliding. The Office for Environmental Protection will be a toothless regulator, lacking both independence and the vital powers to levy fines. And loopholes which would allow the Secretary of State to weaken an environmental target make a mockery of any Government claims that it is protecting our natural environment for generations to come.
“We face an ecological emergency, and it is utterly unacceptable that the Bill could give the Government almost two decades before they are legally required to meet any new targets. The rate of collapse in our nature and wildlife means we cannot wait this long.
“But the fundamental flaw is placing environmental protection behind the pursuit of economic growth. If we are to turn around our relationship with nature, as we must, the well-being of people and nature must be given priority. We have to leave behind our fixation with endless consumption and GDP growth as key measures of economic success and start to live within the Earth’s limits.”