The Daily Telegraph is reporting what has been an open secret for some weeks: senior Cabinet ministers are sabotaging the government’s promise of a “green Brexit”.
Before the EU forced us to act, the UK had a lousy record on many aspects of environmental policy. Remember dirty beaches, polluted rivers, acid rain? It is now essential that institutions and laws are in place when we leave the EU to prevent future governments from turning the clock back to those bad old days. But the chancellor and other senior ministers are blocking such measures. Read more
Last week’s anniversary of the triggering of Article 50 was marked, as you’d expect, by many column inches and much airtime, including a BBC Radio 4 programme that caught our attention here at Green Alliance. Read more
A year on from the prime minister’s letter invoking Article 50, the Brexit hourglass is now half full, or half empty depending on your political disposition. Optimist or pessimist, Leaver or Remainer, the fact is there is now less time for Theresa May and her enthusiastic Environment Secretary Michael Gove to deliver on their promise of a “green Brexit”. Read more
This post was first published by Business Green, and is written by Lord Krebs, an independent crossbench peer in the House of Lords.
The decision to leave the EU raises many fundamental questions, not least of which is how to ensure the rights and protections we currently enjoy are not lost as a result. Eighty per cent of our environmental law stems from the EU. Read more
‘Everything’s gone green!’ declared Radio 4’s Costing the Earth last month.
Presenter Tom Heap subsequently sped through Westminster, Fleet Street and places where green groups congregate, considering the rise in prominence of the environment agenda. Read more
This post was first published by Business Green.
The government may be wavering about the Brexit negotiations but it has, at least, been clear about its vision for Britain’s role after Brexit. Theresa May wants “us to be a truly Global Britain, best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too.” And, under trade minister Liam Fox, the Department of International Trade sees the country’s new role as a global beacon of free trade. Read more
This post is by Andy Jordan, Charlie Burns and Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the ESRC funded Brexit & Environment network.
Brexit negotiations are not just about the UK deciding what it wants. The further negotiations advance into the second phase, the clearer it becomes that the EU will also have a very big say. It has firm negotiating lines of its own. Crucially, some of these will be green, not red. Read more
At 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
To 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
This 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