Seeking views on how a new environmental watchdog will work, and on the application of environmental principles, in England after EU exit. We want to know what you think about plans to create a new independent environmental watchdog. What functions and powers should the watchdog have to oversee environmental law and policy? We’re also seeking views on what environmental principles we should apply in England to guide and shape environmental law and policy making.
DEFRA 10th May 2018 read more »
The environment will have less protection after Brexit because the proposed new green watchdog will lack the power to hold ministers to account, conservation groups have said. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has unveiled plans for a new independent statutory body to replace the role of the European Commission in ensuring compliance with rules on reducing air and water pollution and protecting wildlife in Britain. An Environmental Principles and Governance Bill will be published in draft form this autumn and will establish what the government described as a “world-leading body to hold government to account for environmental outcomes”. However, unlike the commission, which can take legal action against the government for failing to observe environmental laws and impose fines, the new body may only have the authority to issue advisory notices. A Whitehall source said that Mr Gove wanted the body to have much stronger powers but that this had been resisted by Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who is concerned that tough enforcement of environmental rules could harm economic growth.
Times 11th May 2018 read more »
FT 10th May 2018 read more »
Guardian 10th May 2018 read more »
Independent 10th May 2018 read more »
THERESA May’s Government wants to “co-design” with the Scottish Government a new system of environmental protections to maintain green standards across the whole of the UK after Brexit. Today, Whitehall outlined its plans, which include creating a new, independent, statutory watchdog to hold UK ministers to account on the environment and maintain standards once the UK withdraws from the EU. It said new legislation would ensure environmental protections were not weakened as the UK quit the European Union and the new body would hold Government departments to account for looking after landscapes and nature. The plans being put out for consultation look at environmental governance in England and areas where Westminster has responsibility across the UK. But the Department for the Environment said it was exploring with the devolved administrations to see if they wanted to take a similar approach, noting: “We would welcome the opportunity to co-design proposals with them to ensure they work across the whole UK, taking account of the different government and legal systems in the individual nations.” Environmental measures from improving air and water quality and protecting endangered species are currently overseen by the European Commission and underpinned by green principles across the EU, such as “the polluter pays”. Wildlife and green groups have called for a watchdog “with teeth” to ensure protection of the natural world is not reduced after Brexit. But they responded to the new plans with disappointment, warning that it could leave the UK with less environmental protection post Brexit.
Herald 11th May 2018 read more »