The UK needs a new watchdog to hold government to account for how it looks after everything from rivers, beaches and nature to air quality, and guards against dangers like pollution and flooding
The UK government wants to deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth. It aims to get the country recycling more and wasting less, breathing cleaner air, planting trees, safeguarding forests, and supporting nature recovery as it works to tackle climate change and reach net zero emissions.
Defra’s draft Environment Bill says what the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will do after the UK leaves the EU. It will report on how the UK progresses on its 25-year Environmental Plan and advise on new laws and policies. It will also follow up complaints if other organisations fall short of their own duties. But the law doesn’t say how the OEP should work.
We helped make a practical reality out of Defra’s vision for a ‘world-leading independent environmental protection body’ that leaves the environment ‘in a better state than we inherited it’. For our business design and people and talent experts, it’s meant setting up the organisation from scratch. First, they tackled strategic questions about its remit, purpose and stakeholders. Then they dealt with operational issues like what IT, how many people and what skills it needs, and how it measures success.
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