Environment Act 2021: UK’s New Protection Plan

Environment Act 2021

The Environment Act 2021 is the UK’s new structure for its environmental protection plans, which, while the UK was part of the EU, originated from Brussels. It recently received the Royal Assent, about two years since it was first introduced. While this is considered a milestone moment, there is still a long way to go for stronger provisions to meet the 2050 net-zero carbon targets.

With its vision to leave nature in a better state for the next generation, the Act includes the creation of the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). Specific targets, for example, on improving air quality, updating chemical laws, waste and resource management, water, biodiversity, and nature.

Environment principles

The OEP will monitor and report to Parliament, the government’s progress as outlined in Environmental Improvement Plans (EIP). There are five essential environmental principles that the government ministers will focus on in this Act. They encourage environmental protection while avoiding environmental harm and damage:

  • Integration principle
  • Prevention principle
  • Rectification at source principle
  • Polluter pays principle
  • Precautionary principle

The Act aims to increase consumer awareness surrounding the purchase of more sustainable products, set minimum eco-design standards while supporting the use of reusable and recyclable products, and introduce an electronic waste tracking system, among other measures.

However, while the Environment Act 2021 covers general areas, specific legislation is yet to be unveiled. This will eventually have a cross-sector impact which could include:

  • Classification & Specification of all materials
  • Packaging by the manufactures will have to change to adhere to the new guidelines
  • Storage & Shipments processes
  • Price fluctuations (Due to recycling/waste management)
  • Accountability of managing packaging waste and associated fines

For manufacturers specifically, this will impact various processes and systems. Major manufacturers have already begun to target 100% renewables. They, in turn, will require their supply chain partners to function within these new rules.

So, the many aspects of our life that will get impacted by this act are yet to be seen.

A few useful links for your reference:

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