Interim Office for Environmental Protection launched

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), the UK Government’s independent environmental watchdog, saw its launch on an interim basis from yesterday (1 July).

The function of the OEP is to provide independent oversight of the Government’s environmental progress, and is written into the 25-Year Environment Bill.

Glenys Stacey
Following Royal Assent of the Environment Bill, the group will formally become the Board of the Office for Environmental Protection as an independent legal entity.

The OEP’s Chair, Dame Glenys Stacey, was appointed in December 2020, and will steer the interim Office along with Interim Chief Executive Natalie Prosser and other non-executive directors announced last month.

Dame Glenys said: “This is such a welcome development, taking the OEP from the bare Bill provisions and making it real.

“It is a significant step in the creation of a new and powerful independent environmental regulator, able to hold the government and public bodies to account with real authority.

“The OEP will be one of the most important organisations of our time. We now begin work in earnest, as we seek to make a lasting difference to our natural environment for future generations.”

The new interim Office for Environmental Protection will be able to carry out a number of functions.

These include producing and publishing an independent assessment of progress in relation to the Government’s implementation of its 25-Year Environment Bill; developing an independent enforcement policy; and receiving complaints from members of the public about failures of public authorities to comply with environmental law.

The Interim OEP board held its first meeting on 1 July in Worcester – where the organisation’s new headquarters are based.

Royal Assent of the Environment Bill is expected in the autumn.