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Villiers to put “own individual stamp” on predecessors causes

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers

At the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee which took place just before parliamentary business was suspended, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers pointed out how the Environment Bill will be delayed until next summer at the earliest. 

Villiers said she would adopt many of former Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s causes but put her own “stamp” on them saying: “I would very much like to take up many of the causes that Michael Gove espoused as my predecessor, but I hope to be able to put my own individual stamp on some of these important projects as well.”

Villiers said: “All of the environmental protections that we enjoy in the UK have been imported onto the UK statute books, so we are ready to go on that.”

She added: “Interim arrangements have been made to ensure that complaints and concerns could be investigated from the start after Brexit and passed on to the OEP as soon as it is established.”

With regard to the independence of the chair and members of the Office for Environmental Protection she said: “We are hoping to publish the revised bill soon and we will be taking on board the number of proposals led by this committee and whilst I can’t pre announce that, the OBR (office for budget responsibility) type model which you (the committee) discussed with my predecessor is one that I think has much to recommend it. I am determined that when that bill is published we have the substantial degree of independence that the committee wants.” 

Regarding potential differences between UK and EU environmental law, post-Brexit, she said:

“There are many ways to deliver an environmental outcome. It’s short-sighted to assume that the EU is exclusively wise on this.

The EU legislative process often takes two years. We may wish to pilot different ways to deliver an environmental outcome, or to make swifter changes on policy delivery. Much of that is very difficult if you stick to the letter of EU regulations.

We are committed to standards which are as good or better than the EU but we reserve the right to do that in a way that respects UK conditions.”

Villiers also said: “Taking forward a groundbreaking Environment Bill is hugely important if we are going to meet our obligations in terms of environmental matters. Tackling waste, litter and in particular the pollution of our oceans is another thing which is a key priority for me and I think we need to harness the public enthusiasm for this.”


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Owain Griffiths

Owain Griffiths

Head of Circular Economy at Volvo Cars

Owain joined Volvo Cars in June 2021 to lead Circular Economy in the Global Sustainability Team. The company has committed to being a circular business by 2040 and has financial, recycled content and CO2 based targets for 2025, all of which Owain is working across the company to make happen. Owain previously worked for circular economy consultancy Oakdene Hollins where he advised businesses on evidence led circular economy implementation. 

Turning into a circular business and the importance of vehicle reuse and recycling.

The presentation will cover the work Volvo Cars is doing to achieve 2025 but mainly focus on the transformational work towards 2040 and the business and value chain changes being considered. Attention will be paid to the way vehicles are being dealt with at the end of life and the complexities of closing material and component loops. Opportunities and challenges which Volvo Cars is facing will be presented including engagement with 3rd parties and increasing pressure from stakeholders.

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