The new UK Environment Act

The Environment Act 2021 passed in November 2021 by the UK parliament deals with the issues of climate change and loss of biodiversity.

The new law imposes a legal obligation for UK ministers when drafting policy to follow the environmental principles referred to as the prevention principle, the integration principle, the rectification at source principle, the polluter pays principle, and the precautionary principle.

The 2021 Environment Act is an enabling legislation to guide future policy making and regulation. Under the Act the UK government will be required to determine long-term environmental targets for air quality, water, biodiversity, resource efficiency and waste reduction pursuant to the above environmental principles.

Included among the wide-ranging focuses of the Act are charges which may be imposed on single-use plastic, and an electronic waste tracking system, and the scope for the UK government to amend current legislation to further protect rare species and habitats.

The Act creates a regulator called the Office for Environmental Protection with the responsibility for implementing environmental law in England.

This post is for information purposes only, and is not intended to comprise legal advice. For more information on this topic please contact

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