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Home / News and Insights / News / Webinar round up: Business Breakfast Webinar with Dame Glenys Stacey – first Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection

Just a few months into her role steering the brand-new Office for Environmental Protection, Dame Glenys Stacey kindly joined us to set out her plans for the OEP’s enforcement strategy, its relationship with government, and the first challenges she’ll be tackling in the coming months.

‘Strategic litigators, not serial nit-pickers’

As a relatively small organisation of around 50 people, Dame Glenys stated the OEP would be taking a focussed and streamlined approach to enforcement against public bodies that fall foul of environmental law. Rather than tackling everything at once, resources will be channelled towards cases in which the OEP can have the most impact. They will be ‘strategic litigators, not serial nit-pickers’.

Unease with a potential lack of independence?

Asked about the Secretary of State’s controversial power to issue guidance to the OEP, Dame Glenys admitted that this was ‘uncomfortable’ and that she understands why people view it with suspicion. Nevertheless, nothing nefarious has come from it so far, and she vowed to use her powers as Parliament intended.

First steps

One of the first things on Dame Glenys’ agenda is an upcoming monitoring report on the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, published in 2018. This is to inform the first Environmental Improvement Plan due in 2023 under the Environment Act 2021. With a refreshed plan and the UK’s exit from the EU complete, Dame Glenys challenged the government to ‘take the step from opportunity to delivery’ by producing a long-term plan with a compelling vision.

The session concluded with a Q&A, chaired by BDB Pitmans Partner Angus Walker, in which Dame Glenys generously answered questions on a wide range of topics, including:

  • the OEP’s relationship with the Climate Change Commission;
  • whether public authorities will know in advance that they are subject to the OEP’s enforcement powers;
  • whether the OEP has the resources it needs to fulfil its functions;
  • whether the government will comply with enforcement against it;
  • the OEP’s relationship with the EU; and
  • regulation of the farming and fishing industries.

The full webinar is now available on our YouTube channel.

The OEP have also published her remarks on their website.

For more information, please visit our transport page, rail page and planning, infrastructure and regeneration page, and subscribe to our Planning Act 2008 and Net Zero blogs for regular updates.

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