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Queen's Speech 2006 - Climate Bill on test

Nov 15, 2006

The Climate Change Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech today (November 15th 2006) needs to provide a viable framework for tackling the threat of climate change, says the UK Environmental Law Association.

“We need better regulation, not just more regulation. To be effective the Bill needs to advance real measures that can deliver the urgent and long-term reductions in global carbon emissions that climate change scientists say are needed”, said Daniel Lawrence, the Chairman of UKELA.

Whilst the Bill, which is yet to be published, is expected to contain welcome measures on targets, setting up a regulatory commission and improved monitoring and reporting, it is understood that it will provide broad enabling powers whilst putting off the detail to secondary legislation, which could mean unnecessary delay and also leaves businesses unclear as to the measures that will eventually be decided on by Government.

The recent Stern Report, commissioned by Gordon Brown, argues that the first task of policy for combating global warming is to introduce taxes or prices for greenhouse gases. “It is very well to set long term and interim emissions reduction targets and for government to introduce market-mechanisms such as taxes with a view to achieving them, but there needs to be a proper debate, involving all stakeholders, as to the best means of achieving the reductions before this Government establishes the way forward by introducing secondary legislation through the back door”, said Mr Lawrence.

UKELA also expressed disappointment at the failure of the Queen’s Speech to include the long-awaited Marine Bill.
“The marine environment is the Cinderella of environmental protection”, said Mr Lawrence. “Legislation to protect it is twenty years behind the environment on land and it’s missed out again this year”.

Notes to the editors:

1. UKELA is the UK charity which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union.

UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

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