Introduction of environmental principle: a vital step forward


On 1 November the environmental principles policy statement comes into force. The statement, established in law by the Environment Act, places a legal duty on Ministers to have due regard to the environmental principles when creating policy. It mandates that ministers and those who are writing policies need to consider five principles: the integration principle, prevention principle, rectification at source principle, the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle.

As the environmental principles policy statement comes into force, Signe Norberg, Head of Public Affairs and Communications at the Aldersgate Group, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in delivering on the ambitions set out in the Environment Act. Integrating environmental principles into UK law will ensure that Ministers and policy makers consider environmental protection and enhancement early in the policy development process. This will support the stated goal of the 25 Year Environment Plan, that the current generation will be the first to leave nature in a better state than they found it. If implemented consistently and ambitiously, this change will provide businesses with a stable and coherent policy environment that enables them to invest to prevent environmental harm and deliver much-needed environmental improvements. The Government should now build on this progress by proceeding at pace with the specific policy measures that will drive private investment over the next 5 years in biodiversity, air and water quality, resource efficiency and other key environmental improvements. Growing collaboration between Westminster, devolved governments and local government will also be essential to deliver many environmental commitments on the ground, such as on rolling out local nature recovery strategies.”