Tag Archives: EU

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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In a Brexit compromise, MPs must consider what’s best for the environment

no deal smallThe 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

The growing danger of a no deal Brexit

Europe849x566.JPGCould 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

How accountable will the government really be on the environment after Brexit?

2700549757_978a5e7bc1_bThis post is by Lewis Lloyd of the Institute for Government.

The government has promised to end the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK after Brexit, renouncing the oversight of the European Commission and the court as part of ‘taking back control’. But it is unclear how far the UK’s domestic governance structures will replicate the robustness of the EU institutions. The Institute for Government’s report, Who’s afraid of the ECJ?, indicates that the environment will be an area where the change is most marked. Read more

A border won’t be enough to control fish – only co-operation can

6926612069_923fe1576c_bThis post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation.

Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On a map, this looks like a win for British influence in the world, reminiscent of times past and conquering new territory. But the nature of influence and the transboundary movements of those pesky fish mean that this drive to etch battle lines has the notion of control completely backwards. Real control requires co-operation and shared management. Unfortunately, the idea of control offered by the most buccaneering Brexiteers does not seem to involve much co-operation at all. Read more

The EU’s ecodesign policy has a PR problem

Slice of burnt toast in a toaster machine

Toasters have been in the news again this week, with more controversy, and more delays to the long awaited ecodesign working plan from the European Commission.

The plan will cover the next group of energy related products to be given an innovation boost through ecodesign policies, which drive up energy efficiency standards, rewards market leaders and takes inefficient products off the market. Ecodesign has been one of the EU’s most successful policies: it is already saving each European household €330 per year, and will deliver 40 per cent of the EU’s 2020 energy savings target. Read more

After the Brexit vote: what next for the UK’s environment?

Westminster securityThis post is by Andy Jordan, Charlotte Burns and Viviane Gravey.  They recently co-led an expert review of the environmental implications of Brexit funded by the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

After a deeply divisive campaign, UK voters have opted by a small majority to leave the European Union.  Environmentalists are accustomed to most policy being made jointly with the EU. The shock result flips that assumption completely on its head. The referendum process may be over, but the hard political debate over policy starts now. Read more

We must now avoid a race to the bottom

Beautiful yorkshire dales landscape stunning scenery england ukThe environment community is in shock. Forty years of environmental agreements with our neighbours are now threatened by a vote in which the environment didn’t feature. The electorate voted by a small margin to build higher walls, but walls don’t work in the natural world. Within the next two years we will lose the best enforced nature laws in the world, which the UK did so much to help create.   Read more

Yesterday’s EU ruling on products is a triumph for British consumer rights

Macro photo of an cell phone with broken display screen isolatedHave you ever shattered your mobile phone screen? Or maybe your washing machine has packed up, and the repair costs so much you might as well buy a new one? Yesterday, national governments of the EU’s 28 member states, including the UK, have endorsed your right to repair these goods, by pledging to make manufacturers design more durable and repairable products. Read more

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