(6 February 2019) The Office for Environment Protection (OEP), set out in the UK draft Environment Bill to monitor and report on environmental laws, was the subject of a hearing in the UK Parliament (EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee).
Witnesses noted that replacing the enforcement role of the European Commission is a challenging task. They also highlighted the complications of having a holistic assessment of the OEP’s authority, as only parts of the Environment Bill are currently available.
Criticism was raised in regard to the independence of the body (government’s decisions on OEP’s budget and appointments) and the lack of overall objective for the OEP. The scope of the OEP is also considered to contain a significant gap: the enforcement mechanism will be applicable only in England. This implies that the OEP’s outreach will have to be extended to the devolved nations or parallel bodies will have to operate in similar ways at local level.