Warning over gap in environmental protections after Brexit

PUBLISHED: 00:01 06 November 2018

Mary Creagh

$image.copyright

Westminster's environment committee has warned over a gap in environmental protections after Britain leaves the EU.

Mary Creagh, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, said she was "deeply" worried there would be a hole in laws covering chemicals, waste, water and air.

The government's response to the committee's recommendations, published today, still leaves one third of the current EU legislation not replicated in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Creagh said: "It is deeply worrying that the response does not commit to replace the one third of EU environmental legislation that cannot be copied and pasted into UK law after Brexit.

"It should set five-yearly wildlife budgets, so people can see taxpayers' money being spent on public goods like flood prevention, protecting species from extinction and restoring our soils."

Creagh also warned the response did not appear to be creating a watchdog with teeth, as there was no confirmation on whether the regulator would hold all public bodies to account, whether climate change would be in its remit or how it would exact enforcement.

She said: "The government's woolly response makes no firm commitments on the future governance of the environment after Brexit, which is of great concern, given that the Agriculture Bill is making its way through Parliament.

"If we want a world-leading environment, we need a strong, independent environmental watchdog which ministers cannot quietly put to sleep.

"The government's draft Bill must make the new watchdog accountable to Parliament."

The committee's original report on the 25 Year Plan for the Environment had urged the government not to allow Brexit to weaken environmental protections.

The report stated: "The government must not allow leaving the EU to weaken environmental protection in the UK.

"As a minimum, the proposed watchdog must replicate or build on the role the EU institutions play in protecting our environment.

"The government's proposals as yet do not do that. The draft Bill required by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act must do so."

The government response stated its planned actions would "hold future governments to account for delivering on their commitments to the natural world".

It added: "Taken together our plans will provide a bespoke, nationally-determined framework once we are no longer covered by the existing environmental scrutiny, complaints and enforcement functions carried out by European Commission and European Environment Agency."

Creagh said the committee would be closely monitoring the details in the proposed draft legislation and forthcoming policy statement.

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy