This post is by Tom West, ClientEarth’s law and policy advisor.
A major lesson from ClientEarth’s air quality challenges is that we cannot always rely on the government’s promises to meet its legal obligations.
It wasn’t that long ago that the UK was known as the ‘dirty man of Europe’ for causing acid rain across the continent, dumping sewage straight into the sea and failing to control pollution from large power stations, cars and industry.
This post is by Andrew Adonis and is based on his book Saving Britain: how we must change to prosper in Europe, co-authored with Will Hutton.
Brexit is the antithesis of the Conservative Party’s pro-European tradition, exemplified by Churchill’s post-war commitment to a united Europe, Heath’s passion for taking Britain into the Common Market and, indeed, Mrs Thatcher’s early enthusiasm for the single market. Brexiters pretend that once outside the EU, the world becomes an economic Eden raining down free fruit. There are no hard decisions or trade-offs. Britain, long thwarted by its dalliance with the EU, can freely gorge. This is cynical dishonesty based on willful ignorance. It is time to get real. Read more
This post is by Ciara Brennan, Mary Dobbs, Viviane Gravey and Attracta Uí Bhroin, authors of a recent report on what Brexit means for Northern Ireland environmental governance.
The influence of EU membership on environmental governance in Northern Ireland has been profound. Now Brexit raises the very real possibility of major environmental governance gaps right across the UK. A risk which is exacerbated in Northern Ireland where environmental decision making and the implementation of environmental law is notoriously problematic.
This post is by Lord Teverson, chair of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee
Virtually every product we use in our day-to-day lives is made from chemicals, so it’s vital that they’re made in a way that protects both environmental and human health. At the moment that process is managed by the EU chemical regulation, REACH, which combines legislation with an EU database, an EU regulator and the EU single market to create a system that keeps us all safe.
This post is by Andy Jordan and Brendan Moore, who are respectively the co-chair and manager of the Brexit&Environment academic network.
The EU Withdrawal Bill has finally received Royal Assent. Around 200 hours were spent debating it. These discussions clarified some aspects of governance post-Brexit, but left many others open, chiefly those around the enforcement powers of the proposed green watchdog.
Could the UK leave the European Union in March next year without a deal? For all the talk of ‘no deal being better than a bad deal’, the suggestion seems absurd. No deal would be a disaster for both sides in the negotiations. Britain would crash out of the EU without a transition period, plunging the whole continent into recession. Surely no rational government would go there? Surely sensible people will agree, in the end, to do sensible things, and there will be some great, last minute Euro-compromise?
Well, maybe. But governments do not always behave rationally. Read more
This post has been jointly written by Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union, and Shaun Spiers, executive director of Green Alliance and chair of Greener UK. A letter based on this piece appeared in The Sunday Times.
For better or worse, over the last forty five years the EU has played an unarguably important role in the way we manage our landscape, firstly through the Common Agricultural Policy and latterly through the Single Market’s role in environmental regulation. Now, as we prepare to leave, questions about how we continue to manage our countryside are stimulating an important, and sometimes controversial, debate.
This post is by Jenny Hawley, senior policy officer at Plantlife.
Debate around the government’s Clean Air Strategy has been focused on whether it will cut the roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from city traffic. But it is also supposed to take a long overdue look at other air quality issues. Read more
Britain’s automotive industry faces a moment of reckoning. Brexit threatens to disrupt its highly sophisticated ‘just in time’ operations while pressure to cut air pollution and go electric risks stranding investment in factories designed for the fossil fuel age. Read more
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