The Climate Change Bill, which commits the UK to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent, has become a law.
Dubbed the "world's strongest piece of national climate change legislation" by Unicef UK, the bill has received Royal Assent and is now in the statute books as the Climate Change Act.
As well as committing to reductions, the act commits the UK to consider aviation and shipping when it calculates emissions.
It was not the only environmental legislation to make it into law last night and it was joined by the Energy Bill, which has also been welcomed by campaigners.
The Energy Act will provide incentives for individuals, companies and organisations to generate their own renewable energy.
One of its amendments calls for the introduction of feed-in tariffs ? the payment of premium rates to small-scale renewable generation operations such as homes with solar panels on their roofs.
Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: "Britain's renewable energy potential is enormous. The inclusion of a feed-in tariff in the Energy Bill will hopefully encourage homes, businesses and communities to install green energy systems and play a key role in cutting emissions.
"Ministers must ensure that payments are high enough to make this happen."
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