Environment—Lexis®PSL comments on key developments in 2018 and 2019

Environment—Lexis®PSL comments on key developments in 2018 and 2019

In this year’s end of year comment, our Lexis®PSL Environment team consider what was their standout legal development in Environment in 2018. Our Lexis®PSL team also preview the anticipated talking points for Environment in 2019.

First published on Lexis®PSL on 12 December 2018.

What was the standout legal development in your area this year?

This year the government consulted on the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, which aims to introduce and implement the first independent environmental regulator to ensure the UK’s environmental standards remain in place post-Brexit. This is thought of as a singular and unparalleled opportunity to establish a world-leading body to hold government to account for environmental outcomes, as well as enshrine key environmental principles, which will together help to deliver the government’s 25-YearEnvironment Plan.

On 26 June 2018, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 came partly in force, including s 16 maintenance of environmental principles etc, which requires the Secretary of State to publish, within six months, a draft bill with a list of environmental principles and a requirement to establish an independent body to monitor compliance with those principles, with the power to take proportionate enforcement action, including legal proceedings if necessary, if the independent watchdog considers that a Minister of the Crown is not complying with environmental law. It also requires the Secretary of State to publish a statement of policy in relation to the application and interpretation of those principles by ministers. The response to the consultation and the draft Environmental Principles and Governance Bill are expected before Christmas 2018.

How has this impacted on practice in your area?

Given the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill consultation has been a step forward in allaying concerns that the UK will lower environmental standards after the monitoring and enforcement functions carried out by the European Commission and Court of Justice of the European Union are lost.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve and enhance environmental policy and environmental law in the UK. By creating

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