Category Archives: Brexit

A question of standards

parliament-intextGreener UK rates the latest Brexit withdrawal deal as a high risk to the environment. Theresa May’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement guaranteed that environmental standards would not fall below their current level (“non-regression”). That guarantee has gone from the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson. Aspirations to uphold “common high standards” are relegated to the non-binding Political Declaration and it is made clear that they must be compatible with the UK’s desire to develop an independent trade policy.

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It’s time for government to set a new environmental baseline

BigBen-blogimageThis blog was first posted on Business Green.

The government’s environment legislative programme is in disarray. Earlier this month, bills that were halfway through their passage, including on agriculture, fisheries and trade, were lost as parliament was prorogued. The Environment Bill meanwhile is yet to appear in full. Read more

It looks like ecodesign is one area where the UK will be keeping up with Europe

In-text-image-Kitchen-applicanesThe government indicated last week that it still plans to honour a commitment to match or go further than EU green product rules after Brexit. The evidence – a rather dry draft Statutory Instrument (SI) on power supplies for electrical goods – shouldn’t come as a surprise: the commitment was set out just two years ago in the Clean Growth Strategy. Read more

How to shift the UK from also ran to winner in the electric car race

in-text-image-corsa-eThis post is by Greg Archer, UK director at Transport and Environment

Measures to reduce CO2 emissions from cars have so far failed. Minimal improvements in the efficiency of new cars have merely offset the steady rise in vehicle mileage, causing UK car emissions to effectively flatline over the past 30 years. There are several causes: the failure to invest in alternatives to car use; the falling cost and increased level of car ownership; and the focus of the car industry on maximising profits, selling ever bigger and more powerful cars, whilst limiting the choice and availability of low and zero emissions electric models. There are no silver bullets but there are positive signs that a revolution is underway that will drive a sharp reduction in emissions.

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Under our new government, environmental progress has ground to a halt

brick wall squareThis blog was first posted on Business Green. 

The new government’s energy is devoted either to preparing for – even willing on – a disastrous no deal Brexit or to election planning. It has little left for environmental ambition and its record compares badly with that of Theresa May’s government in the weeks following the 2017 election. Ministers have been relatively silent and inaccessible. They are not responsible for the fact that key Bills have stalled, but they have given little indication that they will fight to secure major improvements to environment and farming policy. Read more

Ben Pontin’s new book doesn’t make an environmental case for Brexit

pontin smallThis post is by Nigel Haigh, former director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and chair of Green Alliance from 1989 to 1998.

Few people now remember the peculiar character of British environmental policy that existed before the EEC (now EU) began to exert an influence in the mid-1970s.  Many reading this blog may not even have been born then. Read more

Is the government going from green to grey?

no deal smallA month into the new government and the prospects for the environment look increasingly grim.

It is not just that a no deal Brexit now seems probable, though that is bad enough. Crashing out of the EU carries great dangers for air pollution and loss of countryside as lorries queue around our major ports. Its impact on farming could be devastating. Read more

We need to worry about what Theresa May’s speech means for our environment

Ruth's blog smallIn her Mansion House speech in March 2017 the prime minister said “As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage”. But her speech yesterday appears to ignore the government’s commitments to improve and not just maintain standards.

On the face of it the commitment that “there will be no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU” should be reassuring as the government has repeatedly said that standards will not be weakened by Brexit. But no change infers no improvement which, when facing an environmental crisis, seems very wide of the mark. Read more

Could Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit?

Theresa May smallLegacy is “planting seeds in a garden you never get to see” rapped one of America’s founding fathers on the day of his death, at least according to the musical Hamilton. Thoughts of legacy are likely to start rising up the UK political agenda over the coming weeks as the big question in Westminster becomes who will replace Theresa May? Candidates are already publicly throwing their hats into the ring, with interventions, speeches and candid pictures in kitchens aplenty. Some of these interventions have rightly identified climate and environment issues as vital to the future of the Conservative party. But will Theresa May be remembered for anything other than Brexit? Read more

How the UK measures up in environmental league tables

meandering river smallThis post is by Alistair Taylor, senior policy officer at the RSPB.

You could have been forgiven for failing to notice that, on 5 April this year, a set of reports were published by the European Commission on how European Countries are performing on their environmental policies and laws. The Environment Implementation Review (EIR) reports are available for each of the 28 member states of the EU (currently including the UK). Read more

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