Today (17 November) marks a significant day for the Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) which has now been legally formed. This follows the passing of the Environment Act 2021 by Parliament last week.
This is an important step towards the OEP becoming a fully operational and independent organisation, standing ready to hold government and public authorities to account against their commitments and environmental law. We will now start the transition to our functional independence in the New Year.
At that stage we expect Parliament to take the steps needed for our functions and powers to be made available to us. The OEP will then be fully established.
Once empowered, we will be able to monitor and report on environmental law and advise government on legal and other environmental issues. We will investigate suspected failures in the application of environmental law and enforce compliance with the law by public authorities when needed. We will also review and report on government’s progress in meeting environmental goals and targets.
In the interim, we continue to develop our strategic approach, and are preparing to consult on our strategy as soon as our functions are enabled in law.
The Environment Act 2021 has received Royal Assent, providing in law for the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) to be created as an independent body. We expect the OEP to be legally formed in the coming days, and for the government and Parliament to take the steps needed for our functions to be made available to us early in the new year.