UK Must Follow EU Environment Rules in Post-Brexit Deal

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04 Apr 2017

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According to a leaked document, a future agreement between the EU and the UK is conditional on the Government continuing to adhere to the Union’s environmental legislation. A copy of a European Parliament resolution, leaked to The Guardian newspaper, says the UK will have to adhere to the EU’s environmental and climate change-related policy to secure any future agreement with the trading bloc.

The resolution, which is thought to reflect the opinion of the European Commission (EC) and the European Council’s 27 remaining EU Member States, describes Brexit as an “unprecedented and regrettable event”. The detailed document sets out a wide range of principles for the coming negotiations, including a continuing adherence to “the standards provided by the union’s legislation and policies, in among others the fields of environment, climate change, the fight against tax evasion and avoidance, fair competition, trade and social policy”. The leaked resolution will go some way to reassure environmental professionals and others that have expressed concerns that withdrawal from Europe might be used as an opportunity to weaken some environmental protection legislation. A recent House of Lords Committee report on the forthcoming Great Repeal Bill, warned of a possible vacuum once the EC and Court of Justice of the EU no longer had “oversight and enforcement” of UK environmental legislation. Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA, said: “European Union treaties, regulations, directives, decisions and communications have played a significant role in setting the legal framework for UK environmental protection. Transposing this body of law through the Great Repeal Bill into the UK’s domestic legal framework will be a significant challenge. “We must ensure that high environmental and sustainability standards underpin the UK’s future outside the EU,” he added. Reacting to the Prime Minister’s triggering of Article 50, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the green business lobby, Aldersgate Group, said the UK “needs stable and ambitious policies that will help improve the state of its environment for the benefit of its economy and society and attract more private investment. “There are many areas of environmental and energy policy where it will be in the interest of businesses and consumers for the UK to continue working closely with the EU. This will be important in areas such as product standards that will still apply to British businesses selling goods in the Single Market and the future of the Internal Energy Market,” he said.

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