27 March 2020 by James Langley

Environment bill committee suspended

The work of the committee scrutinising the environment bill has been temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

A further announcement on the environment bill committee will be made once a new timetable has been set. 

Environment bill

The committee stage of the environment bill has been suspended indefinitely

In the meantime, the committee says it is still able to accept written evidence on the environment bill, and information on how to submit such evidence can be found here 

The committee had originally planned to report to parliament in early May, and held its first evidence session earlier this month (see letsrecycle.com story).  

The environment bill must receive committee approval before it becomes law. Some bills can skip the select committee stage by a majority vote in Parliament.   

The suspension of the committee could lead to a delay on some of the measures outlined in the bill, such as a ban on the export of plastics  to non- OECD countries. 

The committee launched its call for evidence on 5 March, vowing to “scrutinise the bill line by line” (see letsrecycle.com story) and last sat on 19 March 

Public bill committees 

Public bill committees set up by the House of Commons to examine the details of a particular bill. All bills, other than money bills, are automatically sent to a bill committee after passing second reading. 

The composition of such a committee must match the makeup of the parties in the house. 

Chaired by Conservative MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans and Labour MP for Knowsley George Howarth, 10 of the 17 members of the environment bill committee are Conservatives. They are: Rebecca Pow, Cherilyn Mackrory, Bim Afolami, Caroline Ansell, Saqib Bhatti, Leo Docherty, Ruth Edwards, Robbie Moore, Richard Graham and Kate Griffiths. 

Chris Law and Deidre Brock are part of the SNP, while Kerry McCarthy, Jessica Morden, Abena Oppong-Asare, Alex Sobel and Dr Alan Whitehead are from Labour. 

History 

The introduction environment bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019 and passed its second reading last month (see letsrecycle.com story). 

This bill is the re-introduction of the environment bill from the previous parliamentary session.  

The previous bill passed second reading unopposed but fell at dissolution for the general election in December2019. 

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