This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, and Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary associate for Greener UK.
Now the EU has granted a Brexit ‘flextension’ until the end of October, the immediate threat of no deal has subsided. In fact, the government has stood down the ‘army’ of 6,000 civil servants preparing for that contingency. But this wasn’t the only preparation being undertaken: many of the 10,000 other civil servants working on Brexit had been creating the torrent of regulations required to bring European laws into the UK legal framework. This process, comprising 10,091 pages of technical legislation (a quarter of which came from Defra), is now largely complete. So, given the breathing space, it’s timely to take stock of where this process has got to. Read more
This post is by Sarah Denman, an environmental lawyer at ClientEarth
Whilst the Brexit drama plays out in parliament, the leaving process is being managed behind the scenes. As part of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK government has had to produce a large number of SIs (or statutory instruments) to convert the existing body of EU law into our domestic statute book and make it fit for purpose. Read more
This post is by Daniel Johns, head of public affairs, Anglian Water Services Ltd. It was first posted on Business Green.
We now have both the EFRA and the EAC select committee reports on the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. Both find critical weaknesses in the proposed protections for the environment outside of the structures of the European Union. On this issue environmental organisations, parliamentarians and a range of leading business voices are entirely aligned. Read more
The prime minister’s announcement that she will work with the opposition to try to reach a compromise on Brexit is very welcome. Both sides need to be flexible. And when MPs get to vote again, they must show a greater willingness to compromise.
Brexit means Brexit, but we still do not know what Brexit means. If we are to find out, MPs must stop asking themselves, ‘what is the best outcome from my point of view?’ and ask instead, ‘what outcomes can I live with?’ Look down the list of how MPs voted on Monday and you will see some of the brightest and best from all parties, including some who care deeply about the environment, who made the best the enemy of the not-wholly-unacceptable. And the not-wholly-unacceptable is probably the best most of us can hope for now, given the pickle we are in. Read more
This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, and Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary associate for Greener UK. It was first posted on Business Green.
Hidden amongst the dramatic politics of Brexit, a little noticed but nonetheless highly significant process has been unfolding: the transfer of 12,000 pieces of EU law into our domestic statute book. This has great significance for the environment as 80 per cent of environmental laws come from the EU. While the process is intended to ensure a smooth Brexit through the technical transfer of laws, the pace at which it has been done, as well as the challenge of faithfully replicating European laws at a domestic level, have meant this process has been far from straightforward. Read more
This post is by Sarah Graham of WWF Cymru.
With 22 days until we leave the European Union, the Welsh government’s plans for how it intends to retain and improve environmental protections remain a mystery. Unlike its counterparts in England and Scotland, it has not published any consultation proposals or draft legislation. Leaving the EU without these plans in place could have very damaging implications for people and nature. Read more
This post is by Lord Robin Teverson, chair of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee.
Back in February 2017, our committee published the report of its inquiry on Brexit, the environment and climate change. While covering a wide range of issues, one of the key findings was the vital role that the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union play in ensuring that member states (including the UK) comply with environmental legislation. We heard evidence that the effectiveness of EU regulation was due, in part, to the deterrent effect of the power of EU institutions to hold member states to account and to levy fines upon them for non-compliance. From recycling targets, to air quality plans, to nature conservation, we heard that the threat of EU infraction had shaped the UK’s environmental policy. Read more
On 16 February, the Scottish Government issued a consultation on environmental principles and governance in Scotland. It is easy to miss the importance of this, after all what do principles and governance mean in practice?
Quite a bit as it turns out. Read more
This post is by Emily Hunter, Nature and Environment Protection Officer at RSPB NI.
With Brexit day fast approaching, the UK government is pushing ahead with a new Environment Bill. However, the environment is a devolved matter and Northern Ireland is still without a government, so there is a very real risk that it will end up being left behind. Read more
This was originally posted on Mark Avery’s website.
Imagine that the environment movement was able to force the government to concede substantive change to a controversial piece of legislation central to its agenda and of great national significance. Imagine that it was the only sector to win such a change to the legislation. Read more