Thank you to all those who have contacted me about our environment laws.
Our countryside is some of the most beautiful in the world and I was pleased to read the commitments outlined in the Conservative manifesto and by the Ministers in the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs. EU and UK environmental law have become highly intertwined but until we leave the EU, these arrangements will remain in place. You might have seen that the Treasury has confirmed that any structural fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before our departure from the EU will be honoured for their lifetime, even if they run beyond this point.
The government has a strong record in environmental policy. For example, we have already committed £2 billion over the last 5 years to tackle poor air quality and promote the development of clean alternative fuels. We have also doubled the UK’s share of electricity generated from renewable energy so that for the first time ever, at the end of 2016, half of the UK’s electricity came from low carbon sources. Furthermore, under the Climate Change Act, the UK is already halfway to meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by 80% from 1990 levels. You can read more about this on my webpage here:
Moreover, the Government has committed to plant 11 million more trees by 2020 to create and improve natural habitats. We will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters. We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world. Tackling air quality is another priority. Alongside national action and continued investment in cleaner technologies, in those cities with the most persistent air quality challenges Ministers will legislate to implement Clean Air Zones.
The Secretary of State is committed to safeguarding our environmental policy and will work closely with environmental organisations and the public to seize the opportunity to develop new and robust policies which will be published in the 25 Environment Plan in due course.
I hope this gives you a sense of the Government’s commitment to this important area of policy and please be assured, I will continue to support the Government to ensure strong protections for our natural environment.