Thank you for contacting me about the concept of ecocide.
I recognise there are challenges for the environment domestically and internationally, most recently assessed in the IPBES global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, the Government neither recognises the term ‘ecocide’ nor does it intend to make the suggested concept a criminal offence. There are already strong regulations in place and contravention of many of these is already a criminal offence.
Like you, I firmly believe in protecting both the UK's vibrant ecosystem and the natural environment worldwide. I am encouraged that the first progress report of the Government's ambitious 25 Year Environment Plan found that 90 per cent of the priority actions have been delivered or are on track for delivery. I believe this clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to improve the environment within a generation.
There are a variety of environmental regulators, which include the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Forestry Commission, the Marine Management Organisation, Ofwat, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, local authorities and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs itself. Where necessary, these bodies will challenge individuals and organisations. The Government is held to account by Parliament and ministers operate under the Ministerial code.
I am also encouraged by the intention to create an Office for Environmental Protection. This will establish a world-leading, independent environmental watchdog to also hold the Government to account.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP