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Harris Lamb welcomes landmark Environment Bill

Holly Smith

Environmental specialists at Harris Lamb have welcomed the landmark Bill introduced by the Government as it aims to tackle the biggest environmental priorities.

The Environment Bill has been introduced to ensure the maintenance and improvement of the country’s environmental protections, and sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper.

Dr Holly Smith, Director of Environment at Harris Lamb, said that the key part of the Bill was the introduction of new legislation, which brings into force legally-binding environmental improvement targets, in particular a mandatory approach to biodiversity net gain.

Holly said: “This is a real landmark for the country. It has been announced that an independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established, which will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities if required, in order to uphold the expected environmental standards.

“The Bill sets out a number of key areas where the Government is committed to implementing far-reaching changes, including waste management, improving air quality, delivering sustainable water resources and restoring and enhancing nature and green spaces – most of which we can all as individuals make significant steps in helping to support.

“The area that I’m particularly pleased to see highlighted is that of restoring and enhancing nature and green spaces: ever since Harris Lamb set up its Environmental division in February 2018,  we have worked closely with our residential and commercial developers to support their aspirations for biodiversity net gain.

“This bill will require developers to ensure habitats for wildlife are enhanced, with a 10% increase in habitat value for wildlife compared with the pre-development baseline. Many of our clients already aim to achieve this standard, but together with our planning team we will be working with them to understand how this can be achieved going forward” she said

The business’ planning and environmental teams are now developing a series of seminars to deliver to its nationwide portfolio of clients, supporting them with key challenges facing developers and to suggest immediate strategies and steps that can be implemented to meet the 10 per cent net biodiversity gain requirement.

While the Bill applies only to England, more than half of its measures – such as those designed to drive up recycling rates – are designed to apply across the UK.