Grants & funding

Here you will find information on grants and funding for individuals, organisations and businesses in Northumberland.

The latest updates in business grant funding and loans as a response to COVID-19. Find out about the Bounce Back Loan, Future Fund, help for Fishing and Aquaculture businesses, and help for larger businesses. Please note that the COVID-19 Discretionary Grant Fund, alongside the Small Business and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funds are now closed.

Last updated 6 Jan 2021

Information on the Local Restrictions Support Grants can be found here

Future Fund

This fund is for companies which are facing financing difficulties due to COVID-19. The loans range from £125,000 to £5 million (subject to at least equal match funding from private investors), and may be an option for businesses unable to access other government support. 

The scheme is open for applications until the end of September 2020. 

Please click here to apply for the coronavirus Future Fund.

Fishing and aquaculture businesses

There are two funds for England’s fishing and aquaculture businesses, administered by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and that target those most in need. 

Fisheries Response Fund
  • Qualifying fishing vessel owners will be contacted directly in stages by MMO, starting from Monday 20 April 2020.
  • Qualifying aquaculture businesses are being contacted directly by MMO from Thursday 07 May 2020.
Domestic Seafood Supply Fund

The second fund is a grant scheme to support the sale of fish locally.

Bounce Back Loan

The Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan will help both small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic.

Businesses will be able to apply for loans from £2,000 to £50,000, with no fees or interest for the first 12 months. 

Please click here to apply for the coronavirus Bounce Back Loan.

Larger Businesses

Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility
The government has introduced a financing facility where the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. Operating initially for 12 months, it’s intended to relieve cash flow pressures. 

Click here to find out if the Corporate Financing Facility is right for you.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of up to £45m to apply for Government-backed finance up to £5m. The Government will cover the first 12 months of interest payments. 

In 2022, Her Majesty, The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, commemorating 70 years of service.

To help communities celebrate the occasion, Northumberland County Council has allocated £70,000 to create a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Fund. The purpose of this special fund is to enable non-profit making community and voluntary groups, schools, local charities, parish councils and churches within Northumberland to apply for grant funding to help them to take part in celebratory events, and community and legacy projects, to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Community groups are encouraged to organise commemorative or celebratory events for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee extended bank holiday weekend of 2 June 2022 to 5 June 2022, but supported activities can take place throughout the year. Grants of up to £500 are available from the opening of the fund on Friday 14th January 2022.

All project activity must commence after 1 April 2022 and be completed by the end of the calendar year. The Fund will close for applications when all funds have been allocated, and no later than 28 October 2022.

This list is not exclusive, but the grant could be used to support activity for such as:
  • Purchasing a Jubilee Beacon
  • Street entertainment, including performance fees
  • One off hire costs, such as marquees, stage and PA hire.
  • Hospitality, excluding alcohol
  • Long lasting commemorative schemes
Specifically excluded are:
  • Entertainment licenses, road closures and traffic management.
  • Core organisational costs
  • Religious or political activities

The panel will be looking to support projects that demonstrate the following:
  • opportunities for the community to come together to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
  • opportunities for the community to create a legacy of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
  • Maximum Grant £500.00
  • Total funding available £70,000.00
  • 100% intervention rate (no match funding required)
  • Cannot be used to match other NCC funding
  • Delivered in monthly rounds until the budget is fully allocated
Applicants must fall into one of the following groups:
  • Constituted voluntary and community organisation
  • Social Enterprise
  • Parish Council
  • School
  • Churches, where the benefit is to the wider community
Beneficiaries must be domiciled in Northumberland.
  • Round 1 – 28 January
  • Round 2 – 25 February
  • Round 3 – 25 March
  • Round 4 – 29 April
Monthly thereafter until fully allocated and no later than 28 October.

Please note: organisations seeking to host an event should also consider other important event notification aspects that may be required such as road closure requirements, licensing, etc.
For more information, please contact:
Here you will find information on grants, funding and other support for organisations and businesses in Northumberland.

The Regeneration Programmes and External Funding team produce a regular Funding eBulletin that is distributed by email to NCC staff, external organisations, individuals and businesses in Northumberland and beyond. The eBulletin includes various funding opportunities from national and local charities, trusts, government and other sources. There is a brief description of the funding opportunity and an active link to take you directly to the funder’s website, where you can learn more about the fund and print off any information you require.

The list recent editions can be accessed click here

To be added to the distribution list, please email:

For NCC staff whose function involves searching for funding to support or develop Council services, we could provide a free licence to access the full range of Grantfinder services. Grantfinder is distributed by the Idox group and is Europe’s leading provider of up-to-date funding and policy information. Recipients must have a valid NCC email address therefore partner organisations may not be eligible for a licence.
Advance Northumberland is the economic regeneration company for Northumberland and is responsible for the Council’s business development activities. This includes being responsible for inward investment, strategic account management and the commissioning of a range of business support initiatives.

The mission is to:
  • attract private sector investment in business and property
  • promote enterprise and support business growth
  • support the regeneration of disadvantaged places and neighbourhoods
  • help create prosperous, attractive, sustainable communities throughout Northumberland
For further information, please go to the Advance Northumberland website.

Tel: 01670 528400



The Growth Hub provides information and signposts to the latest in regional business support services and finance and funding opportunities, helping businesses access the funding and support they need to grow.

The Growth Hub is delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP). The LEP works to make the North East a place where more businesses invest, grow and prosper, to deliver more and better jobs for everyone.  The North East area covers County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. 

To access the Growth Hub please click this link

The UK Government's Business Support finder allows you to explore finance and support options available to your business.
A list of local and other Trusts, Charities and Foundations with a funding or support offer, that have previously been active in Northumberland and regionally can be found here.

Note: the editor’s decision on what is considered appropriate is final.

The information contained in these webpages is meant as a general guide only. It has been prepared from information provided by third parties and NCC accepts no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken in reliance on or in connection with this information.

Where reference or links (which may not be active links) are made to external publications or websites, the views expressed are those of the authors of those publications or websites, which are not necessarily those of NCC. NCC accepts no responsibility for the contents or accuracy of those publications or websites.

ECO Help to Heat statement of intent for flexible eligibility

Northumberland County Council intends to work closely with energy companies, installers and customers to maximise the input of Flexible Eligibility ECO on fuel poor households.

Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Regulations local authorities can set their own criteria for eligibility for funding for domestic energy efficiency measures. This funding is aimed at those within a local authority most likely to be in fuel poverty.
Obligated energy suppliers can spend up to a maximum of 25% of their ECO Affordable Warmth obligation within these criteria.

This statement takes into account NICE recommendations on how to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home. NICE guideline [NG6] Published date: March 2015
The aim is to help meet a range of public health and other goals. These include:
  • Reducing preventable excess winter death rates.
  • Improving health and wellbeing among vulnerable groups.
  • Reducing pressure on health and social care services.
  • Reducing 'fuel poverty' and the risk of fuel debt or being disconnected from gas and electricity supplies (including self-disconnection).
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes.
  • Households are considered eligible for flexible eligibility ECO if they are at risk of living in fuel poverty (FP) or a low income household, with at least one household member vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home (LIVC). Flexible eligibility only applies to private tenure so a property must be privately owned or rented.

To be redirected to the full statement of intent, eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding please click here
This page talks about funding searches. The service is free to individuals, community groups and businesses in Northumberland, but you need to register to view them.

GRANTfinder and Northumberland County 4 Community is a user-friendly, accurate UK wide professional funding tool which has helped users to secure millions of pounds worth of support. It is an online, step-by step process which enables you to identify and select funding schemes and awards that are appropriate for your project.
  • A convenient one-stop-shop of funding information.
  • Information source provided on over 8,000 funding schemes including grants, loans and awards from local, regional and national UK government, European funding, charitable trusts and corporate sponsors.
  • Content ranging from modest community funds at one end of the spectrum to major, multi-level European initiatives at the other.
  • Authoritative reference library of articles on topical funding issues (full subscription only).
  • Newsflash service sending approaching deadlines, news of launched funds and policy decisions direct to your inbox (full subscription only).
  • Information is presented jargon-free and in plain English.
  • Interactive Update Bulletin sent weekly and categorised by subject, keeping you up-to-date on areas of interest to you (full subscription only).
The site also contains access to useful self-help guides, including:
  • 10 steps to writing a constitution
  • a beginner’s guide to regeneration terminology
  • writing a fundraising strategy
  • writing a successful business plan
  • how to write a winning financial plan
You can access GRANTfinder by registering some basic details; Northumberland County Council hosts this service and pays a licence fee, but partners and community users can access the funding search service free of charge using the Council licence.

To register click here: GRANTnet webpage - Northumberland County 4 Community

Other free funding search websites and portals:
Grants Online Local Funding for Northumberland

For further information on Northumberland grants and funding searches, or if you wish to receive our funding bulletin by email, please contact:
If you are involved in writing funding applications, the Northumberland Knowledge website can provide informative research and statistics to support your bid.

Community chest schemes give local organisations a chance to bid for funding.

Our aim is to support voluntary and community groups and organisations to deliver activities which contribute to achieving the council’s ambition of maintaining and creating sustainable communities.

Learn more about the scheme and how to apply here.

This page gives details of European programmes and funding currently available.

European Union - European Structural and investment Funds
For further information, email:

European Union - European Structural and investment Funds

ESIF is the EU’s main funding programme supporting investment in innovation, businesses, skills and employment. It will allocate approximately more than £426m to the North East for the period 2014-2020. The ESIF programme aims to support the North East Strategic Economic Plan for 'More and Better jobs' for the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) area.
There are three types of funds:
  • European Social Fund (ESF) focuses on improving the employment opportunities, promoting social inclusion and investing in skills by providing help people need to fulfil their potential.
  • European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supports research and innovation, small to medium sized enterprises and creation of a low carbon economy.
  • European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) supports rural businesses to grow and expand, improve knowledge and skills and get started.
The following documents provide information about the funds:
The following guidance explains who is eligible to apply for funding. Northumberland County Council, as part of the North East Technical Assistance Project (part funded through the 2014 to 2020  ESIF Programme), is able to provide support to help you apply for ERDF and ESF.
Funding rounds and calls for projects will be issued via partners and the NCC Funding eBulletin.
European Union - European Structural and investment Funds
The North East Technical Assistance (NE-TA) Project is part-funded by the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme.
The aim of the NE-TA Project is to encourage potential partners and providers to understand the nature, range and scope of ESIF opportunities; allowing them to be better informed and to contribute to their delivery as appropriate.  The NE-TA  Project provides technical advisory support, ensuring that quality proposals are designed in accordance with ESIF and national funding requirements. The NE-TA team facilitate wide ranging access to the opportunities contained in the ESIF programme, through stakeholder engagement, capacity building activity and increases the visibility of ESIF funding across the North East Local Enterprise Partnership area.

The team is made up of officers from all seven local authorities within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and links to the relevant websites are detailed below.  They have the expertise to support those interested in making successful applications to the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.  Northumberland County Council is the lead delivery partner for this project on behalf of the North East Combined Authority (NECA).
The project aims to:
  1. To raise awareness of the England 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme with partners, through delivering information and awareness raising events.
  2. To support the efficient and compliant management and implementation of the ESIF Programme to help ensure that performance targets are achieved and that ESIF projects comply with applicable law.
As part of the NE-TA  Project, Northumberland County Council is able to provide advisory support to ESIF project applicants in Northumberland in order to promote the design and development of compliant projects at both outline and full application stages.

We are very interested in hearing from organisations who are developing ideas for future ESIF projects and who wish to share these ideas with TA officers prior to making a formal application.

For information about calls currently available and/or support to develop a proposal for the Northumberland area please email:
The NELEP geography is made up of 7 local authority areas, including Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside.  The following links will take you to the NE-TA project partner websites:

Durham County Council
Gateshead Council
Newcastle City Council
North Tyneside Council
South Tyneside Council
Sunderland City Council
The term ‘state aid’ refers to a form of public-funded assistance used to support organisations or businesses. State aid rules have been designed to prevent the use of this support in ways that distort competition and free trade in the EU.

The treaty on the functioning of the European Union defines state aid as any aid granted by a member state or through state resources which distorts, or threatens to distort, competition by favouring certain undertakings that could affect trade.

The commission has said that state aid can include:
  • grants direct subsidies
  • tax exemptions
  • preferential interest rates
  • loans, guarantees and provision of goods or services on preferential terms
  • indemnities against losses
  • contracts not open to competitive tendering
  • tax relief
Please note: this list is not exhaustive.

The rules restrict the support the public sector can give organisations that operate in a commercial or economic environment. They don’t apply to the whole sector, only where support could inhibit fair competition with other businesses.

Some aid is illegal under EU rules because it distorts competition in a way that is harmful to the EU. But where it is unavoidable, state aid can be given legally by using a set of approved EU mechanisms for state aid, such as:
  • compliance with de minimis regulation
  • compliance with a block exemption regulation
Not all public funding is necessarily state aid. It is present when a scheme meets all the criteria listed in Article 107 of the treaty of the function of the European Union (TFEU).

If your answer to all four of these following questions is “yes,” your assistance is almost certainly state aid. If some of your answers are “no” then aid may not be present. If you are unsure, seek legal advice.

1. Is the assistance granted by the state or through state resources?
‘Granted by the state’ means by any public or private body controlled by the state (in the UK, this means national or local government). ‘State resources’ can include tax exemptions, lottery funding and EU structural funds over which the state has significant control.

2. Does the assistance give an advantage to one or more undertakings over others?
An ‘undertaking’ is any organisation engaged in economic activity. This is about activity rather than legal form, so non-profit organisations, charities and public bodies can all be undertakings, depending on their activities.

Support to an organisation engaged in a non-economic activity isn’t state aid, e.g. support to individuals through the social security system. This can also include operators and ‘middlemen’ if they benefit from funding ‘economic activity’ means putting goods or services on a market.

It is not necessary to make a profit to be engaged in economic activity. If others in the market offer the same goods or services, it is an economic activity.

An ‘advantage’ can take many forms. It’s not just a grant, loan or tax break but also the use of a state asset for free or less than market price. Essentially, it is something an undertaking could not get normally.

3. Does the assistance distort or have the potential to distort competition?
If the assistance strengthens the recipient relative to its competitors, then the answer is likely to be ‘yes.’ The ‘potential to distort competition’ does not have to be substantial or significant. It may include relatively small amounts of financial support and firms with a modest market share.

4. Does the assistance affect trade between member states?
The interpretation of this is broad, as it is enough that a product or service is tradable between member states, even if the recipient itself does not export to other EU markets.

Aid given illegally has far reaching consequences:
  • If the EU Commission investigate and find aid incompatible with the treaty, you will have to recover with interest, regardless of consequences or difficulty.
  • Even if aid is found to be compatible with the treaty (approvable), interest for the period it wasn’t notified may still have to be recovered.
  • If you get it wrong, it is those you want to help who will suffer the most.
  • A competitor could take you to court in the UK and seek damages. 
De minimis
The de minimis regulation is a useful EU mechanism for state aid, based on the commission’s view that small amounts of aid are unlikely to distort competition. The regulation allows small amounts of aid – less than €200,000 during three fiscal years – to be given for a wide range of purposes. If you use this you don’t need to notify or get approval, but records of aid granted must be kept and all rules of the regulation must be followed.

State aid modernisation (SAM)
In May 2012, the European Commission set out an ambitious state aid reform programme. The modernisation has three main, closely linked objectives:
  • foster growth in a strengthened, dynamic and competitive internal market
  • focus enforcement on cases with the biggest impact on the internal market
  • streamlined rules and faster decisions
The European Commission has now adopted the long-awaited replacement for the 2008 general block exemption regulation (universally known as GBER).

New GBER and regional aid regulations
The purpose of regional state aid is to support economic development and employment. The regional aid guidelines set out the rules under which member states can grant aid to companies to support investments in new production facilities in advantaged regions of Europe or to extend/ modernise existing facilities.

State aids


Certain categories of state aid can only be granted within assisted areas that fulfill the conditions of Article 107(3)(a) of the TFEU. For the purpose of the new state aid regulations, the assisted areas map for Northumberland has been updated and can be found here.

The BIS state aid manual
The attached manual is intended to assist public sector officials understand the state aid rules, show how they apply in practice and explain that it’s not a substitute for the official documentation available from the EU Commission.

BIS state aid manual: BIS-15-148-state-aid-manual

Commission to prolong EU State aid rules and launch evaluation

The European Commission plans to prolong for two years seven sets of State aid rules, otherwise expiring in 2020. The Commission has also launched today an evaluation of those rules and of other State aid rules to assess whether to further prolong them or possibly update them in the future.

Since May 2012, the Commission has implemented a major reform of EU State aid rules, the State Aid Modernisation. This allows Member States to quickly implement State aid that fosters investment, economic growth and job creation, leaving the Commission to focus its State aid control on the cases most liable to distort competition. More than 97% of all State aid measures are now implemented by Member States without the need for prior approval by the Commission. As part of the State Aid Modernisation, the Commission has revised a considerable number of State aid rules since 2013.

A number of the State aid rules adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation are due to expire by the end of 2020. Other State aid rules adopted as part of the Modernisation process have no fixed expiry date. To provide predictability and legal certainty, whilst preparing for a possible future update of the State aid rules adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation, theCommission will take two steps.

First, the Commission intends to prolong for two years (until end 2022) the validity of those State aid rules, which would otherwise expire by end 2020. They are the following:
  •         General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
  •         De minimis Regulation
  •         Guidelines on regional State aid
  •         Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments
  •         Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
  •         Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring
  •         Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI).
Second, in line with the Commission's Better Regulation Guidelines, the Commission will evaluate those rules together with the other State aid rules, which were adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation. The evaluation was launched today. It takes the form of a “fitness check”. It will provide a basis for decisions, to be taken by the Commission in the future, about whether to further prolong or possibly update the rules. The evaluation will cover the following rules, all of which were adopted as part of the State Aid Modernisation:
  • General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)
  • De minimis Regulation
  • Guidelines on regional State aid
  • Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (RDI)
  • Communication on important projects of common European interest (IPCEI)
  • Guidelines on State aid to promote risk finance investments
  • Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines
  • Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy
  • Guidelines on State aid for rescuing and restructuring
The “fitness check” will also cover the Railways Guidelines from 2008 and the Short term export credit Communication from 2012. Those rules were not revised as part of the State Aid Modernisation, but an evaluation is relevant in the light of developments in EU law and the Commission's case practice. 

The “fitness check” will involve internal analyses by the Commission and public consultations as well as, in some cases, studies prepared by external consultants or targeted consultations of specific stakeholders. The results of the exercise will be summarised in a Commission Staff Working Document.

Under the Better Regulation Guidelines, the Commission evaluates if specific laws, policies and spending activities are fit for purpose and have delivered, at minimum cost, the desired changes to European businesses and citizens. The evaluation findings help the Commission decide whether EU actions should be continued or changed.

More specifically, fitness checks assess whether the regulatory framework for a policy sector is “fit for purpose”. Their goal is to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value of specific parts of the EU acquis, thus promoting better/smart legislation, making it more responsive to current and future challenges and helping improve implementation. This includes identifying excessive administrative burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures that may have appeared over time, and considering the cumulative impact of EU legislation and activities. Their findings serve as a basis for drawing policy conclusions on how well EU policies have been performing and feed into possible consideration on the future of the relevant regulatory framework.

UK State Aid proposals post BREXIT: UK state aid and competition policy proposals post BREXIT

For further information on state aids, please contact David Baird on 01670 623888.
Please note: we are unable to give specific advice on individual cases.

The RGN - Local Growth Fund awarded to Northumberland County Council is a notified scheme. The following is a list of all those projects awarded GBER state aid within the notification period:  
Project name Amount of aid awarded
State aid mechanism
The Sill; National Landscape Discovery Centre
GBER Article 53
The Thinford Development
GBER Article 56
Wansbeck Business Park - New Industrial Estate 186,934 GBER Article 56
Hownsgill Park Industrial Workshop Development 358,968 GBER Article 56
The Amble Inn 448,500 GBER Article 56
Morpeth Railway Station Enterprise Hub 500,000 GBER Article 56
Thinford Phase II 207,000 GBER Article 56
Lynx Precast Ltd -  Design and manufacture of precast concrete stair and landing units 170,000 GBER  Article 14
Information on funding for outdoor sport and play using section 106 housing developer contributions.

Section 106 agreements are sometimes entered into with housing developers to fund sport and play in some areas of Northumberland. The money collection method is based on current planning documentation from the former districts.

This documentation remains in place until the new local development framework is introduced. This means the amounts collected and the items/projects on which the money can be spent can vary.
The council is keen to see the development and improvement of children's play and outdoor sports and recreation facilities. In most of Northumberland, S106 money is collected based on individual agreements for precise amounts for a specifically agreed purpose.

However, in certain areas of Northumberland (south east, former Tynedale and parts of the north), funds are collected and may be spent in specific geographical areas on a variety of sports, play and recreation projects.

What can be funded?
The funding is for items only for children's play areas or outdoor sports facilities, plus some indoor sports and recreation facilities in areas of the north. The funding is for new facilities or improvements to existing ones, for example:
  • new children's play areas
  • new sports pitches/areas
  • new equipment in an existing play area
  • upgrading of facilities for outdoor sports such as changing rooms
  • Specialised sports equipment, eg cricket roller
Projects must be within specified locations and be open to the general public.

Who can apply?
Projects must be located in specific geographical areas and applications can be made by not-for-profit organisations, such as:
  • community groups
  • residents' associations
  • sports clubs
  • schools
Individuals or businesses are not eligible for funding. Where a local sports club or school is looking to develop or improve facilities, it needs to include appropriate arrangements for wider community use.

How much funding is available?
The level of funding available will depend upon the amounts collected at the time and requests from other projects in the same area. This means funding can be limited and sometimes there will be no funding available.

How can I apply for funding?
  • Applications for funding can be made by completing the S106 Housing Developer Fund Application Form. The application form and accompanying guidance notes and application completion supporting notes can be downloaded from the useful links section.
Applications will be considered by a cross officer panel, which will meet according to the timetable below, and which will make recommendations for approval (applications of more than £100k will be subject to a longer approval process).

Upcoming Housing Developer Fund Panels (Sport & Play) 2021-22

Panel date meeting Deadline for receipt of applications Result of application by:
Tuesday 2 March 2021 Friday 12 February 2021 Friday 26 March 2021
Tuesday 8 June 2021 Friday 21 May 2021 Friday 2 July 2021
Tuesday 14 September 2021 Friday 20 August 2021 Friday 8 October 2021
Tuesday 7 December 2021 Friday 19 November 2021 Friday 31 December 2021
Tuesday 8 March 2022 Friday 18 February 2022 Friday 31 March 2022


The latest information on funding policies and strategies.

Defra Unveils Draft Environment Bill

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has published the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill, setting out how the UK will maintain environmental standards after Brexit whilst building on the vision of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Bill was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in July 2018 and is designed to place environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government. Environmental decisions made in the UK – from improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species – are currently overseen by the European Commission and are underpinned by a number of EU principles, including the precautionary principle, sustainable development and the ‘polluter pays’ principle. While these principles are already central to government environmental policy, they are not set out in one place besides the EU treaties.

The draft Bill focuses on three core principles, which set out an ambitious new green governance system, incorporating key clauses on environmental principles and governance that will be part of the wider Environment Bill. The key principles are as follows:

  • Environmental principles: The environmental principles – such as the “polluter pays” principle or that the public should be able to participate in environmental decision-making – are fundamental to achieving the Government’s environmental ambitions. These will act as guiding principles to help protect the environment from damage and will encourage decision-makers to further consider the environment in the development of government policy.

  • The Office for Environmental Protection: A world-leading, green governance body will be established – the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – to uphold environmental legislation. The OEP will be an independent, statutory environmental body that will hold government and public bodies to account on environmental standards, including taking legal action to enforce the implementation of environmental law where necessary, replacing the current oversight of the European Commission.

  • 25 Year Environment Plan: The draft Bill proposes making it a legal requirement for government to have a plan for improving the environment, to monitor and report annually to Parliament on progress and update it at least every five years. The 25 Year Environment Plan would become the first such plan, giving it the status and permanence to deliver on the Bill’s goals.

This draft Bill comes ahead of a full Environment Bill to be introduced in 2019. This Bill will contain specific measures to tackle ongoing environmental issues, including: cleaning up the air; restoring and enhancing nature; improving waste management and resource efficiency; and managing water resources better. It will also contain measures to improve human health and wellbeing.