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Oliver Bussell

Partner - Sevenoaks and Ashford

Environment Bill suspended

As those who’ve attended our biodiversity net gain briefings on the subject know, the Environment Bill is bursting with significant changes to the system which regulates environmental measures in this country – especially in the context of development.  The Environment Bill has been progressing through Parliament since the beginning of the year.  Among other things it gives us the establishment of the “Office for Environmental Protection”, new measures to improve air and water quality and of course the development of a means of measuring and mitigating “biodiversity net gain” on nearly all new development (you can read more on that here .)

One of the questions we’ve been faced with most often since we started talking and blogging about biodiversity net gain is, “when is this going to come into force?”  The answer used to be “some time during this session of Parliament.”  And progress of the Environment Bill was seeing relatively few changes being made, owing to the Government’s large Parliamentary majority.

But COVID-19 is changing that just as it is changing so much else at present.  Last Thursday the passage of the bill was abruptly suspended with no date set for resumption.  The next stage following the Public Bill Committee will be its third reading and it goes from there to the House of Lords where bigger changes can be pressed with a better chance of success.  Or at least that’s the theory.  We live in very “interesting times” as the Chinese proverb puts it and it reopens the question of whether this legislation will make it onto the statute books any time soon.

We will continue watching, and blogging about it, here.

Whether you are a landowner or a developer looking for legal advice on conservation covenants or Biodiversity Net Gain within the planning process please don’t hesitate to contact either Oliver Bussell or Jo Bryan in Rix & Kay’s Planning & Environment team.

Read our introduction to Biodiversity net gain and land development

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