Brexit bill criticised by sustainability professionals
The EU Withdrawal Bill does not extend far enough in its scope for safeguarding environmental protections after Brexit, a network of sustainability experts has warned.
In a briefing to the House of Lords yesterday, representatives of the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF) outlined four central concerns they have with the bill, including whether it ensures appropriate parliamentary scrutiny.
They also argue it must enable collaborative working with the devolved nations after the UK leaves the EU, transposes all the principles of environmental protection, and closes the governance gap by exit day.
“Given the large volume of EU environmental legislation and the positive influence this has had on the UK’s environment, we welcome the steps being taken to transfer the body of acquis into law,” EPF chair, professor Will Pope, said.
“However, it is important that this is undertaken in a robust and transparent manner. We are concerned that the four issues we’ve highlighted are not adequately addressed by the bill in its current form.”
Peers gathered in Westminster yesterday to examine the “line by line” detail of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will next enter a committee stage in the House of Lords on 26 February.
The EPF, which represents over 70,000 environment and sustainability professionals, including member body IEMA, said it would support peers throughout all stages of the bill to ensure environmental protections are not "reversed".
“Our organisation and its members are all committed to working with the government to ensure the environment is protected and enhanced for the public benefit,” Pope continued.
“The professionals we represent need reassurance that their previous achievements in making the UK an international leader of environmental progress will not be undermined or, worse still, reversed.
“The time left between now and exit day is quickly ticking by, and we must have assurance from today if we are to stand any chance of tackling the big issues.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM