Implications of the Environment Act 2021 on farmers and landowners

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The Environment Act 2021 became law in November 2021, with some of the regulations coming into force on 10 May 2022. Further regulations came in on 30 September 2022.

Aiming to protect our environment for future generations, the Environment Act aims to clean up the air, restore natural habitats and use our resources in a more beneficial manner where their maximum value is utilised.

These changes will be achieved through legally-binding environmental targets, which will be enforced by the independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) who will hold the Government and other public bodies responsible for their environmental obligations. The OEP is charged with preparing a strategy which sets out how it intends to carry out its functions.

Each Government target will be reviewed, with the first review to be completed by 31 January 2023 and then every five years after this date. Additionally, the Government is required to produce an annual report on its environmental improvement plans, evidencing and considering progress towards improving the natural environment.

Biodiversity was a strong theme throughout the Environment Act 2021, making it a requirement to have 10% Biodiversity Net Gains for all new developments. This may lead to many farmers and landowners being offered agreements to take on another developer’s and multinationals’ biodiversity obligations.

We recommend these obligations are carefully checked by individuals before one enters into anything as such agreements may last for years and adversely impact a farmer’s tax position, especially under inheritance and capital gains tax legislation.

Additionally, under the Act, public authorities are more obliged to assess how they can conserve and enhance biodiversity; they, too, are required to publish biodiversity reports. This may affect how planning permission applications and proposed developments are considered by many local authorities.

Contact our agriculture and estates solicitors today

If you need legal assistance navigating through this new Act, its significant implications and what it means for your business, then please get in touch with a member of our Agriculture and Estates team or complete this online enquiry form, and we will be happy to assist you with your enquiry.


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