16 October 2019

Draft environment bill is encouraging – as a first step

NFB responds to Government's draft environment bill, urging further collaboration

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has called the Government’s draft environment bill ‘a good first step.’ 

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The draft environment bill builds on many years of hard work and the Government must appreciate it is at the start of a journey, not the end. The environment is everyone’s responsibility and the NFB remains wholly behind the Government’s environmental ambitions."

Many of the NFB’s members are at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of sustainable building solutions and the NFB itself has been working with Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for a number of years. As well as helping to shape biodiversity net gain, which leaves the environment in a better state than when development began, input from NFB members helped inform the district licensing scheme, which invests in conservation, while speeding up planning approvals.

Among other policies, the draft bill brings in biodiversity net gain, clean air and water protections and environmental mapping but ministers must recognise that appropriate resourcing is a major stumbling block to delivering a world leading approach.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), said: “Our members were instrumental in helping develop district licensing and their actions have helped shape the draft environment bill. Strong dialogue with the Government helped us get to this point and a successful implementation relies on continuing with that collaboration. The environment bill must be a living document that appreciates and supports new evidence and strategies.”