UK milieu post-Brexit

13 Feb

Op 21 November 2016 werd in dit blog een artikel geschreven over het milieu in de UK in de post-Brexit periode.

Nu de Brexit een harde scheiding wordt rijzen vragen of May’s regering zich al heeft bezonnen over plannen voor die post-Brexit periode. Het parlementslid Caroline Lucas stelde afgelopen week een vraag aan het ministerie van (o.a.) milieu, het DEFRA. Hier volgt vraag en antwoord:

Asked by Caroline Lucas(Brighton, Pavilion)             Asked on: 06 February 2017

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Environment: Research                                   63096

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion): To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what research the Government has commissioned in the last six months to inform the development of agricultural and environmental policy once the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by: George Eustice                                                  Answered on: 09 February 2017

Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Defra invests a significant amount in agricultural and environmental research to underpin policy development and implementation. Much of this is relevant to the development of future policy in the context of EU exit. However, research specifically to inform agricultural and environmental policy once the UK leaves the EU, which is distinct from the department’s on-going research programmes, has not been commissioned in the last 6 months.

Niets dus, waarop de krant The Guardian vandaag schrijft:

The Guardian 13 February 2017, page 14

UK not ready for effects of Brexit, Lucas warns

Britain is hugely unprepared for the potential impact of Brexit on environmental protection, with more than 1,100 pieces of EU legislation needing to be moved into UK law in order to keep safeguards, according to a report by the Green MP Caroline Lucas. Lucas, who spent 11 years as an MEP before being elected to the Westminster parliament, says environmental protections faces “a cocktail of threats from Brexit”. This is in part, she argues, because the government might seek to water down some rules. But risks are also structural, she says, with the possibility of less spending on protections and loss of cross-border cooperation. Lucas, the Brighton Pavilion MP, has called for a green guarantee over Brexit – a government promise that protections will not be reduced, and the issue will not be ignored amid a focus on trade. She also cites the concern that the rush to agree a free trade deal with the US could see Britain obliged to accept imports of food involving practices not allowed in the EU, for example chicken rinsed with chlorine.

En ook onder andere in The Scotsman van vandaag 13 February, page 4:

British environmental policy faces ‘cocktail of threats’ warns Green MP

 The UK’S environmental policies face a “cocktail of threats” from Brexit, the Green Party’s only MP has warned.

More than 1,100 European Union environmental laws, ranging from air pollution limits to energy efficiency and wildlife protection, need to be transposed into UK law, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said.

But many protections could be downgraded as the UK leaves the EU, while desperation for a trade deal with the US could open domestic markets to lower standards such as chickens washed in chlorine and beef treated with hormones, she said. Environmental laws could be unenforceable as the UK has no system to oversee compliance, which is currently done by European bodies, while the country would also be leaving key EU agencies which support and develop green policies. The environment could see a reduction in funding as EU cash to support nature protection schemes and wildlife friendly farming ends and the UK could quit key schemes such as the emissions trading scheme which aims to drive down carbon pollution. A report by Ms Lucas called for a “green guarantee” to ensure the environment is protected, including a new Environmental Protection Act to re-establish protections that could be lost or rendered meaningless in the transfer of regulations into UK law. Ms Lucas, a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “Though we’ve hardly heard it mentioned by the government, it’s clear that British environmental policy faces a cocktail of threats from Brexit. “Just days after the Brexit vote in the Commons we can clearly see the huge risks of downgrading environmental protections as part of the post-referendum process. Key laws could become unenforceable .”

Met name de Schotten maken zich zorgen over wat er na de Brexit moet gebeuren op het vlak van milieumaatregelen. Zie “The implications of Brexit for environmental law in Scotland”, waarin het hele scala van milieuonderwerpen de revue passeert.

De schrijvers vrezen:

  • Loss of scrutiny and enforcement powers associated with the operation of EU law and institutions;
  • Loss of long-term policy horizon and of the stable regulatory framework provided by EU law;
  • Repositioning of the UK and Scotland in international and regional environmental governance cooperation; and
  • Restriction/loss of access to EU funds and programmes.

Omdat Schotland eigen bevoegdheden heeft op milieu- en klimaatgebied kunnen ze misschien op eigen houtje enkele verbanden met Europese organen gaan leggen, maar hoe dan ook hindert de Brexit de kwaliteit van de bereikte resultaten en leidt mogelijk tot verlies, tot een terugval als in de jaren voordat de UK zich aansloot bij de Europese Unie. Op het gebied van luchtkwaliteit presteert de UK al jaren ondermaats en er worden procedures gevoerd om striktere handhaving van de luchtkwaliteit af te dwingen. Dat geldt ook voor Schotland, waar ze zelfs  strengere criteria aanleggen dan in Engeland, citaat:

Given the prominent role of EU law in setting air pollution standards, and the failure of UK and Scottish authorities to comply with them, Brexit may have a significant impact in this area. In the absence of EU law obligations, both Scottish and UK authorities may relax their standards on air quality, insofar as compatible with the UK’s international obligations on this issue. The same may happen when UK authorities find themselves faced with competing objectives, such as expansion of airport capacity, without the EU Commission watching over their shoulder. Due to the integrated nature of the problem and the demise of the EU’s centralised standard-setting and enforcement roles, coordination amongst central and devolved authorities in the exercise of regulatory powers over air pollution will likely need to intensify after Brexit. The role of public scrutiny by means of access to information and litigation may equally need to be safeguarded and strengthened. Conversely, in other areas, like emission standards for vehicles, both the UK and Scotland would remain under considerable pressure to comply with EU standards in order to continue exporting into the EU market.

Meer achtergronden over allerlei onderwerpen die door de Brexit worden beïnvloed zijn te vinden op een youtube kanaal van Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe.

 

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