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“A worrying hole where clarity and understanding should have been”: Friends of the Earth reacts to George Eustice pledge for nature to be at heart of green recovery

news release
  • Environment group calls for more clarity on plans to protect the environment
  • Friends of the Earth is also calling on the government not to water down planning laws that protect the environment.

Kierra Box, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“The whole speech had a worrying hole where clarity and understanding should have been.

“The Secretary of State was completely non-committal on when the Environment Bill will be back – words like ‘probably’ and ‘sometime’ coming from someone who is meant to be leading on our environment ambition really isn’t good enough.

“The vagueness on his own ability, and that of his colleagues, to protect our standards in the future is really worrying. Mr Eustice suggested that demands for the government to guarantee existing standards in law were unnecessary and painted trade deals as the only likely threat. He has seemingly forgotten that the task force designed to fast track major building projects across the country already threatens these protections domestically.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s expected planning reform policy paper, Friends of the Earth is also pressing the government to not water down planning laws that protect the environment.

Kate Gordon, senior planner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment are internationally established, robust methodologies used throughout the world as a key tool for environmental protection and must not be weakened. Any proposals for reform should seek to strengthen and improve their effectiveness, not water them down.”


For more information contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) or by emailing  

Notes to editors

  1. Friends of the Earth’s planning campaign is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
  2. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page. 

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