ClientEarth Programmes Director Karla Hill said: “The mutual Brexit withdrawal agreement struck between the UK and European Union includes wording supportive of establishing a green watchdog, preventing regression in environmental standards and maintaining environmental principles. This is positive.
“However these vital provisions are only included in the backstop agreement, which the UK government has said it never wants to use. These things must be enshrined in both domestic and international law and be put into practice now.
“The future relationship declaration contains some aspirations on environmental cooperation – on areas from climate change to sustainable fisheries – however, there are serious gaps in the declaration, and no legal safeguards governing this cooperation. The declaration misses an opportunity to set a path towards proper cooperation between the UK and the EU, on things like protecting wildlife or cleaning up air pollution.
“The government is yet to prove whether it is on track to deliver its environmental promises for Brexit – the next real test will be the level of ambition in the upcoming Environment Bill.”