As part of the post-Brexit arrangements, each nation within the UK set up a new non-ministerial environment agency in 2021 (Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS), The Office for Environmental Protection (England & N. Ireland), and the Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales). Their main remit is to assess public body compliance with environmental law, and to identify enforcement gaps.
We have now met each new agency twice, and as part of delivering our ‘Defining & Promoting the Role of an EnvCoW’ Action Plan, as we attended an event on 15th March, held by ESS. We discussed our concerns regarding the role of construction contracts in delegating, and blending environmental roles and responsibilities, in the absence of industry guidance and regulations. Feedback from this event will inform our representation that we make to each new agency across the UK, as we shine a light on the issues & opportunities in the industry (as set out in our position statements), particularly in relation to public body environmental compliance. We are intending that our representation will start to build an evidence base for these government agencies to investigate environmental harm caused by, and non-compliance of, public bodies. This will also provide the foundation for drafting Industry Guiding Principles and ‘CDM Regulations for environmental obligations’.
We will publish our representation in the Member’s Area, once it has been finalised.