LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said it would bring in legally binding targets on air quality, waste reduction, biodiversity and cleaner water as part of efforts to combat climate change, improve the environment and rebuild the economy.
The targets will form part of the environment bill, introduced last year and set to resume its passage through parliament soon, which will force the current and future governments to focus on environmental improvements.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to “build back greener” as the country tries to recover from the coronavirus pandemic which caused its economy to shrink by a fifth in the second quarter.
Targets will be set in the four areas of air, waste, biodiversity and water, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said on Wednesday.
A new environmental watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, will report annually on the government’s progress against the targets. It is also set to oversee the country’s move towards its 2050 net zero-emissions target.
Britain was the first G7 country to commit to a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050, and will host the United Nations’ climate summit in November 2021 after it was delayed from 2020 by the pandemic.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison)