Defra launches consultation on the interpretation and application of the environmental principles

Defra has launched a consultation on a draft policy statement setting out how five environmental principles should be interpreted and applied.

The NFU will be consulting with members and will draft a full written response for circulation ahead of Defra’s deadline of 2nd June 2021.

The Environment Bill, making its way through Parliament, will embed in national law five environmental principles:

  • the precautionary principle
  • the polluter pays principle
  • the prevention principle
  • the rectification at source principle and
  • the integration principle.

It requires the Secretary of State to prepare a policy statement setting how these should be interpreted and proportionately applied.

The Secretary of State must be satisfied that the policy statement will contribute to the protection of the environment and sustainable development, and the policy statement will be used to integrate the five principles into policy-making across all government departments.

Crucial opportunity

British farmers are committed to caring for the countryside and protecting the environment, alongside producing safe, traceable and nutritious food for the nation. Productive, profitable and progressive farm businesses are essential to the continued successful delivery of both of these elements. This consultation provides a crucial opportunity for government to hear from the agricultural sector on how to best shape environmental principles for their use in a post-EU and new domestic context.

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