Category Archives: Brexit

The Lords debates show the extent of concern about the Withdrawal Bill

Early morning London:  Houses of Parliament and Big BenAt the end of January the EU (Withdrawal) Bill was the subject of a record-breaking debate in the House of Lords. One hundred and ninety peers spoke at the bill’s second reading, including several members of the expert Constitution Committee, which concluded that “the Bill risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty in this country”. There was also widespread concern about the ability of parliament to hold the government to account, the loss of the charter of fundamental rights and the implications for devolution. Read more

The three basic things you should know about trade

Dr_Liam_Fox_MP,_Shadow_Defence_Secretary_(4475796143)_Chatham HouseTo coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, earlier this week the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox extolled the benefits of free and fair trade and set out how those principles were informing his department’s trade strategy.  In contrast to President Trump, Dr Fox looks at the world as a source of trading opportunities, not threats, and is fond of quoting the IMF forecast that 90 per cent of world growth over the next ten to 15 years will come from outside continental Europe. Read more

Will we get a Trade Bill fit for the environment?

containers Michael Gaida CCThis post is by Matthew Stanton (@MStantonUK), lawyer at WWF-UK, and Ali Plummer, senior policy officer on Brexit at RSPB. They are both representatives of the Greener UK coalition.

The government’s recently released 25 year environment plan says it is a “comprehensive and long term approach to protecting and enhancing our natural habitats and landscapes in England for the next generation”. But, to be truly comprehensive, the plan must, of course, go beyond Defra and be owned across government departments and bodies, with all taking a responsibility for its delivery and achievements. For instance, the UK’s new external trade policy presents a tremendous opportunity for the UK to lead the way in promoting sustainable trade. Read more

How accountable will the government really be on the environment after Brexit?

2700549757_978a5e7bc1_bThis post is by Lewis Lloyd of the Institute for Government.

The government has promised to end the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK after Brexit, renouncing the oversight of the European Commission and the court as part of ‘taking back control’. But it is unclear how far the UK’s domestic governance structures will replicate the robustness of the EU institutions. The Institute for Government’s report, Who’s afraid of the ECJ?, indicates that the environment will be an area where the change is most marked. Read more

There’s a danger UK nations will all go their own way on environment post-Brexit

Fotolia_70671651_S.jpgThis post is by Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB and co-ordinator of the Greener UK ‘Brexit and Devolution’ working group.

From the coverage surrounding the launch of the UK government’s long awaited 25 year environment plan last week, one could easily have been forgiven for thinking it set out a long term strategy for restoring nature across the four UK nations. In fact, most of its proposals will only apply to England and, to a more limited extent, the UK Overseas Territories.

No vision for collaboration between UK nations
Since the late 90s, most areas of environmental policy have been devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As such, the new plan largely focuses on those aspects of environmental policy reserved to the UK government. Read more

The prime minister’s environment speech must herald a shift to restore nature

35894018871_3a2b1e0cdb_bTomorrow, Theresa May will deliver a major speech on the environment, it will be the first keynote environment speech delivered by a British prime minister since Tony Blair did so in 2000. David Cameron might have hugged huskies in the Arctic but, in practice, the environment as a whole was not a top priority for him (although he did address the UN on climate and gave a small speech on energy efficiency). Blair also delivered a major speech specifically on climate in 2004.

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Nature can’t wait for the Brexit timetable

7983327433_0f7fcd7beb_h.jpgThis post is by Tom Lancaster, senior policy officer at the RSPB, and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust.

For a couple of policy wonks on the Brexit front line, perspective can be hard to come by at times. So we’ve taken a few days to digest Michael Gove’s speech at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference and assess where it leaves us in our quest for a more sustainable farming and land management system.

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Big New Year questions on the environment and politics

Sunrise through a foggy start of the day over the river TrentNew Year articles and blogs often predict what is going to happen in the year ahead. But after the political upsets of the past couple years, it seems more appropriate to pose questions than predict outcomes. So here are some of the important questions that need addressing this year, starting, inevitably, with Brexit.

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