This post is by Lord Howard, the former leader of the Conservative Party and former secretary of state for the environment.
The British people have voted to take back control of their money, their borders and their laws. This huge transfer of power back to the British people gives us the opportunity to fulfil the government’s ambition to be the first ever British government to leave our environment in a better state than we found it.
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 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.
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is rapidly approaching the end of its parliamentary journey, but it does so with a distinct whiff of unfinished business in relation to the environment.
This post was first published by Business Green.
It’s by now becoming a familiar refrain: we will consult on establishing a new, independent watchdog to hold the government to account. This commitment was first proposed by environment secretary Michael Gove in November, has been repeated many times since and was encapsulated in the Defra consultation document on environmental principles and governance published on 10 May.
When first announcing the government’s plans to legislate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU the prime minister assured the nation that the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before and that we will have a workable, certain, continuing system of law.
This really matters for the environment as 80 per cent of our environmental laws come from the EU and EU bodies have provided a vital degree of oversight and access to justice for UK citizens.
At long last, the government has published its environmental watchdog and principles consultation.
As stubbornly technical as it sounds, the consultation is significant. In fact, despite all the positive announcements on plastic, it is probably the most significant moment yet in the government’s recent environment drive. Read more
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is being debated in the House of Lords and peers have been raising their concerns about the bill’s gaps and deficiencies. They have tabled over 100 amendments to the bill, several of which are being voted on and mostly passed.
The worry that Brexit might erode environmental safeguards has featured heavily throughout the bill’s parliamentary passage. The environment has vied successfully with constitutional law issues for airtime. And yesterday’s debate was no different. Environmental governance and principles were discussed alongside the rights of UK citizens and a proposal to give the European Court of Justice some say over UK laws after exit day.
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
‘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