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Senior councillor welcomes strengthened environment bill and its benefits to Harlow

04 Sep Senior councillor welcomes strengthened environment bill and its benefits to Harlow

Harlow’s lead councillor for the environment has welcomed new government commitments to protect the environment for future generations.

Last week (27 August) the government announced amendments to strengthen its Environment Bill. The Bill will bring forward action to address environmental challenges including biodiversity loss, climate change, waste and pollution of the air, water and land all of which are of interest to residents living in the town.

Councillor Alastair Gunn, Harlow Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for environment, said: “I very much welcome the amendments to the Environment Bill as I believe these will bring benefits to protecting Harlow as the town grows and develops. Harlow’s natural environment enhances residents’ quality of life and we must protect it. The amendments include commitments to leave a richer, more sustainable environment for future generations by setting a legally-binding target to halt species decline by 2030.”

“There are also measures to crack down on pollution in our rivers and waterways through a new requirement for water companies to monitor the water quality impacts of their sewage discharges and to publish this information. Sadly, Harlow has suffered from problems on this in recent months which the Council is working closely with Thames Water on.”

A review of legislation will also take place which would require Sustainable Drainage Systems on new developments to be constructed to a higher standard, reducing the pressure on the sewage system. This is particularly important in preventing water entering foul sewers; reduce surface flooding; improve biodiversity, and improve associated carbon emissions. Harlow Council will work with organisations such as Thames Water and the Environment Agency to ensure Harlow’s landscape and waterways are protected.

Councillor Gunn, added: “The timing of the announcement comes at a crucial time for the Council when we are due to shortly announce our key pledges and actions in tackling climate change and protecting the environment. Next Thursday (9 September) I will be presenting to Cabinet a new carbon management plan which will set out new targets including achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040. This will be followed in November where I will be bringing to Cabinet a new biodiversity strategy, which will include targets and actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and enhance and protect our natural environment.”