The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Five Things FMs Need to Know about The Environment Bill

Five Things FMs Need to Know about The Environment Bill
21 June 2021

What should facilities managers consider when the Environment Bill comes into force?

After several COVID-related setbacks, the Environment Bill, which provides a post-Brexit framework for environmental governance in England, is set to become law this autumn.

While most of the Bill only applies to England, some significant provisions apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and will go through a process of legislative consent.

Gareth Rondel, Sustainability Lead at CHAS, highlights what construction businesses need to know.


Gareth CHAS

Picture: a photograph of Gareth Rondel


1. National Environment Watchdog 


Once fully established, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take appropriate enforcement action. They will also hold public bodies and government to account. This means businesses working within local authority and government supply chains should be prepared for increased environmental scrutiny.

Contractors can demonstrate their commitment to high environmental standards via the Common Assessment Standard which is the gold standard for accreditation in the construction industry, covering many areas of risk management, including sustainability. CHAS is one of three recognised assessment bodies offering the Common Assessment Standard.


2.  New Environmental Targets


The UK has already enshrined its 2050 net-zero carbon target in law and now the government must set long term legally binding targets to improve the environment on air quality, water, waste and biodiversity. Some of these targets, notably on woodland and petal restoration, will play a direct part in achieving net-zero emissions.

There will also be interim targets, which will set a five-year trajectory towards meeting the long-term targets.

While a two-year transition period is expected, businesses of all sizes should review how they currently monitor and manage these issues to be better prepared once targets arrive.


3. Waste Prevention


The Environment Bill will deliver on commitments set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy for England which aims to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050.

The government’s Waste Prevention Programme (WPP) will build on this strategy and includes a focus on construction. The WPP aims to reduce construction waste and increase the reuse of construction materials at their highest value.  Buildings will be expected to be designed for adaptability and deconstruction, increased reuse of components, use of materials that can be reused and recycled, and improved demolition systems.

For many organisations, the first challenge when looking to improve construction waste management will be to identify the nature and scale of the issue. The Construction Leadership Council’s report Zero Avoidable Waste in Construction is a useful reference.


4. New Developments Must Protect and Enhance Nature


Part of the Environment Bill’s commitment to biodiversity is the expectation that all new developments in England will achieve a 10 per cent biodiversity net gain (BNG).

The Environment Bill will also re-focus the Habitats Regulations to conserve and enhance biodiversity, with the government publishing a Green Paper on these reforms later in 2021.

BNG will affect planning, change project delivery elements, impact developers and influence supply chain requirements.

The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management has a useful checklist on preparing for BNG.


5. Specific Targets for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)


The Environment Bill aims to improve air quality by requiring legally-binding targets to reduce concentrations of damaging fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and increasing local powers to address sources of air pollution.

There are also proposed provisions to drive recalls of products that fail to meet environmental standards. As a consequence, manufacturers of non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) could be compelled to recall plant because of environmental failure or non-conformity.

This will invite increased scrutiny on NRMM emissions which contribute significantly to air pollution on construction sites and adjacent neighbourhoods. Tracking plant and equipment to ensure it is properly maintained via products such as CHAS Plant can help reduce emissions and simplify plant compliance by giving customers and auditors easy access to plant records.

Picture: a photograph of some leaves on a tree

Article written by Gareth Rondel | Published 21 June 2021


Related Articles

COP26 – Five Takeaways for FMs

A host of announcements that will affect how UK businesses address climate change coincided with COP26. As the dust settles on Glasgow-hosted summit, let's take a...

 Read Full Article
Will Rishi Sunak Push Back on Petrol Car Ban?

The media is awash with reports that Rishi Sunak is to dial back on key net-zero policies, including the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars. ThisWeekinFM...

 Read Full Article
UK Government’s Net-Zero Strategy Ruled as ‘Unlawful’

The UK’s path to net-zero has been described as “inadequate” and “unlawful” by the High Court. Amidst the backdrop of an extreme...

 Read Full Article
Inside The Cabinet Office Net-Zero Playbook

Decarbonising the vast public estate will play a pivotal role in the UK’s climate change response. Let’s take a look inside the much anticipated Cabinet...

 Read Full Article
UK’s Net-Zero Strategy Unveiled – What do FMs Need to Know?

The UK’s path to net-zero has been published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The plans detail how the UK will secure...

 Read Full Article
The UK’s Hydrogen Economy – Industry Reactions

The UK’s first-ever hydrogen strategy launched this week, defining the energy source as critical in the country’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The...

 Read Full Article
UK Science Facilities to be Upgraded in £213 Million Government Investment

Thanks to a major investment to upgrade the UK’s scientific infrastructure, computers to track infectious diseases and a floating offshore wind testing lab are...

 Read Full Article
UK to Have Legally Binding Sustainability Targets From 2022

As part of the updated Environment Bill, the government will underpin key environmental commitments with legally binding targets, including for air quality, water, waste...

 Read Full Article
Five Social Sustainability Questions Every Business Must Ask Their Supply Chains

Ensuring a commitment to health and safety is a well-established practice. But companies are increasingly being held accountable for their suppliers' sustainability...

 Read Full Article
Metsä Group Launches 2025 Sustainability Awards 

Metsä Group is launching its 2025 Sustainability Awards, in partnership with the Cleaning & Services Support Association.  The event aims to spotlight...

 Read Full Article