The Environmental Audit Committee launches inquiry into the 25-Year Plan for the Environment.

Have your say and contribute to the BES response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into the Government’s 25-Year Plan for the Environment.

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The Environmental Audit Committee has launched a short inquiry into the Government’s 25-Year Plan for the Environment.

The committee is asking the following questions. The BES plans to only respond to first three questions (in italics). Please send your contributions to Camilla and Sara by 9am on the 19th February.

Ambition and Reporting

To what extent does the Plan set a sufficiently ambitious agenda across Government? How far do the objectives, targets and indicators set out in the plan reflect a higher level of ambition than existing targets (including European Union targets and the Sustainable Development Goals) and current performance? Are there any major gaps?

What would success or failure look like for the Plan? To what extent will the Government’s proposals for reporting on the Plan allow for proper scrutiny of its performance against its objectives? Are the commitments to legislative action in the Plan sufficient to ensure it will endure beyond the current Parliament?


The Plan sets out a natural capital-led approach and a principle of “environmental net gain” when undertaking development. What are the risks and benefits of adopting these approaches? What steps need to be taken during development and implementation to ensure they lead to positive environmental outcomes, especially in respect of biodiversity?

To what extent does the Plan set out effective delivery mechanisms to ensure DEFRA, other Government departments and public bodies have the resources and responsibilities to implement it? Where should the Government seek agreement with the Devolved Institutions to ensure a common approach across the UK?

Principles and Oversight

The Government has proposed an independent statutory body to “champion and uphold environmental standards as we leave the European Union”. What role, legal basis and powers will it need to ensure the Government fulfils its environmental obligations and responsibilities? How do these compare to the role of the European Institutions in the existing arrangements? What standard would it have to meet to be “world leading”?

The Plan sets out a series of objectives and the Government says it will consult on a policy statement on environmental principles to underpin policy-making after leaving the European Union. What principles should the Government include as part of that consultation? What legislation might be needed?

The Committee’s inquiry will examine key decisions around the Plan’s overall ambition and approach. The Plan sets out a number of 25-year goals and a combination of new and existing strategies, targets, mechanisms and commitments in order to meet those goals. The Government proposes to update the Plan every 5 years and to report annually on progress to Parliament. The Government will develop a set of indicators to monitor progress


The Committee is likely to hold one oral evidence hearing, followed by a hearing with the Government. The Committee will also scrutinise the Plan’s proposals in specific areas as part of its regular work programme.


Have your say by contributing to the BES inquiry submission. We currently plan to only respond to first three questions (in italics), however if there are sufficient contributions to other questions we may be answer further questions.

You need only respond to the questions of most interest to you. The deadline for submissions is the 28th February hence there is a short timeframe. In order to collate comments and receive sign-off from BES Policy Committee, please send your comments, relevant papers and reports to Camilla and Sara by 9am on the 19th February.