This post is by Ali Plummer, wildlife law campaigner at The Wildlife Trusts.
Over the coming months and years, as the UK government begins the task of negotiating exit from the European Union, we have a rare and historical moment to ask ourselves – what kind of country do we want to live in? As the negotiations continue, there is the risk that these questions become lost in the seemingly abstract and inaccessible language of trade and commerce, and the moment is lost. But there is a way to recapture the moment: through considering our natural environment, whose fate – and by extension ours – is very much entwined with the future of our relationship with the EU. Read more
This post is by Lord Chris Smith, who was chair of the Environment Agency from 2008-14.
One of the most distressing things about the prospect of Brexit is the impact it could have on the range of environmental protections we currently have in Britain. Virtually every piece of safeguarding we have – of habitats, sea water and rivers, of air quality and against polluting emissions, of agricultural quality and cross boundary impacts – derives from European directives and common European policy. Many of these are already enshrined in UK law, of course, and the so-called Great Repeal Bill that will supposedly transpose everything into domestic legislation will, perhaps at the outset, ensure this.
This post is by Viviane Gravey, lecturer in European Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. She recently co-led an expert review of the environmental implications of Brexit, funded by the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.
The result is in: the Supreme Court has ruled that the government needs parliamentary approval, through legislation, to trigger Article 50 and start the Brexit negotiations. The Supreme Court’s judgement further found that the government need not consult the devolved administrations. The judgement is thus the least surprising of all options: in the end, the Supreme Court simply confirmed the two November rulings: the government’s loss regarding parliamentary approval in front of the High Court in London and its win regarding devolution in front of the High Court in Belfast.
This post is by Green Alliance’s chair, Dame Fiona Reynolds.
For the many people who care about the beauty of our countryside and the natural environment, this is the big question of our time. We know the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a net negative for the environment, yet we also know that the majority of the UK’s rural landscapes will continue to be farmed. So now is the time to get some anchors in the ground about what should be the principles underpinning a new farming and food production policy, even if it’s too early to put the details in place. Read more
The prime minister has laid out her “comprehensive and carefully considered” Brexit plan pledging to bring as much certainty and clarity to each stage of the Brexit process as possible. It was perplexing, then, that the environment was not mentioned once during her 45 minute speech. Significant questions remain about the future of the UK’s environmental protections and how we will work with allies abroad to build a healthier and safer world. Today, most of the UK’s environmental law and policy is based on EU law, so its absence from Theresa May’s speech leaves the Brexit plan falling short of its comprehensive objective.
This post is by Bryn Kewley & Peter Clutton-Brock of E3G.
From an unassuming factory in Sunderland, the UK is leading the EU market in electric vehicles. It’s a market which is expected to grow quickly, with Norway already consulting on an outright ban on the sale of fossil fuel cars. Read more
The Prime Minister’s latest intervention in the EU referendum campaign illustrates how the environment is taking its place in the modern political canon. Speaking from the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve, Cameron noted how our EU membership underpins crucial environmental protections, and talked about the importance of nurturing Britain’s countryside and wildlife. At the same time, his speech, if not his words, demonstrated that environmentalists are important too.
This is an edited version of an article that features in the latest issue of Green Alliance’s journal Inside Track which focuses on the environmental case for staying in the EU.
Lord Deben is chair of the Committee on Climate Change. He was secretary of state for the environment, 1993-97, and minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, 1989-93.
This post is by Paul Morling, principal economist for the RSPB.
UK and EU policy makers have increasingly favoured the use of voluntary approaches, like industry self regulation, as a low cost, more flexible alternative to binding regulations or market based instruments.
This post is by Brendan May, chairman of The Robertsbridge Group.
Some years ago, Prince Charles got into trouble for accepting an environment award overseas. ‘But he flew!’, they cried. Since then, from what I can tell, HRH has had to resort largely to pre-recorded video pieces or appearing as a hologram at non-British environmental summits. Mercifully, he adds as much sustainability work onto his official state visits as he can. Having seen first hand what his interventions can do to get a green cause moving (sustainable seafood, in my case) I was sufficiently irritated by the furore to write to one of the newspapers that covered the story. I argued that the Prince and others who spend most of their waking hours trying to stop business and government wrecking the planet should not just be entitled to travel the world but have an obligation to do so, building global traction for sustainability efforts. Read more