Consultation on post-Brexit environmental principles and governance

Consultation on post-Brexit environmental principles and governance

Angus Evers, a partner at Shoosmiths, considers the government’s consultation on a new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill to ensure that protection of the environment will not be weakened after Brexit.

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What is the background leading up to the launch of this consultation?

The government has recognised that, after the UK leaves the European Union (EU), the environmental principles currently contained in Article 191(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) will no longer apply in the UK, as the EU treaties will not be retained as part of domestic law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The monitoring and enforcement functions currently carried out by the EU Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union will also be lost following the UK’s departure from the EU.The government has repeatedly stated its ambitions to ensure that it leaves the environment in a better state than when it inherited it and to ensure that new mechanisms are put in place to not only maintain, but also strengthen, protection for the environment after the UK leaves the EU. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) therefore published a consultation on 10 May 2018 that seeks views on incorporating environmental principles into the policy and legal framework in England, and on the creation of a new, independent and statutory body to hold the government to account for the environment.

What are the key proposals made in the consultation?

The consultation is divided into three parts, which include environmental principles, accountability for the environment and overall environmental governance.

Environmental principles

The consultation notes that

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