The UK government introduced the Repeal Bill to parliament yesterday, shedding some light on how exactly the UK plans to leave the EU.
The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and copy all existing EU laws into UK law.
The Bill fails to guarantee the same levels of environmental protection once we leave the EU and gives ministers alarming powers to amend laws without full scrutiny by parliament.
ClientEarth’s Director of Programmes, Karla Hill said:
“The Repeal Bill risks turning back the clock on 40 years of environmental gains. The Bill creates sweeping new powers for ministers without giving a proper role to Parliament. To protect the environment we need strong laws that cannot be undone by backroom deals in Whitehall.
“Laws are not just pieces of paper. We need a robust, independent means of policing these laws, not Ministers making up institutions and marking their own homework.
“The Bill fails to guarantee existing environmental laws will be safely kept on our statute books as primary legislation. This creates more uncertainty to businesses and for millions of people across the country who want their natural environment protected.”
The government also published a factsheet on environmental protections, which says environmental protections will be enforced by judicial review and through parliament once we leave the EU.
This falls way short of the current levels of protection provided by the EU, including important EU bodies that monitor and enforce our environmental laws.