On 6 November the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) published the government's response to its report on the 25-year environment plan.
Among a number of observations, the EAC noted that the government's response does not commit to including climate policy under the remit of the new green watchdog, or applying the watchdog to the actions of public authorities.
The EAC also observed that the government does not commit to replacing EU environmental legislation that cannot be transposed into UK law via the EU Withdrawal Act.
Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“It is increasingly urgent to address the crisis facing wildlife and our ecosystems across the world, including here in the UK.
"Simply tracking wildlife’s ongoing decline through a series of government measures is not good enough. It does not reflect the growing urgency to reverse the disastrous trends we’re witnessing.
"Primary legislation is needed to commit this and future Governments to long-term, ambitious targets for environmental recovery. And to put nature into recovery local authorities should be required by law to map Nature Recovery Networks.
"Nature Recovery Network maps will show where wildlife must be protected, and also identify where wildlife is missing and should be restored.
"Nature is in freefall and the only way to halt and reverse its decline is through powerful new laws and targets that future Governments can be held to.”
Amy Mount, head of the Greener UK unit, adds:
"The government has recognised that our natural environment is struggling, and it has sought measures, such as in agriculture, to tackle the trends of decline. Yet this document makes it clear that there is still a great deal of work to do if we are to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation.
"If they want to leave a green legacy, ministers really need to introduce ambitious, legally binding targets with the environment bill, and a truly world-leading independent watchdog to hold future governments to account.”
You can read further detail and analysis in The Independent's write up of the report.