This post is by Baroness Parminter, the chair of the new Environment and Climate Change Committee.
We have begun a crucial decade. The environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change, and using the earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished, are well known. These will be the ten years that determine whether governments, industries and citizens can change direction in time to avert global climate and environmental disaster. The situation could not be more urgent.
Something quite momentous happened on 18 July. The prime minister announced the first dedicated environment bill for over twenty years. Have no doubt that this is as major a policy announcement as they come, although it might easily have been missed as it was tucked away in an answer to a question on air quality when Theresa May was grilled by select committee chairs on their subject areas. Luckily this tweet sealed the deal and the announcement is now common knowledge and an important platform from which to build.
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.
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.
This post was first published by Business Green, and is written by Lord Krebs, an independent crossbench peer in the House of Lords.
The decision to leave the EU raises many fundamental questions, not least of which is how to ensure the rights and protections we currently enjoy are not lost as a result. Eighty per cent of our environmental law stems from the EU. Read more
At the end of January the EU (Withdrawal) Bill was the subject of a record-breaking debate in the House of Lords. One hundred and ninety peers spoke at the bill’s second reading, including several members of the expert Constitution Committee, which concluded that “the Bill risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty in this country”. There was also widespread concern about the ability of parliament to hold the government to account, the loss of the charter of fundamental rights and the implications for devolution. Read more