The Government has been criticised by Green MEP Keith Taylor after Environment Secretary Michael Gove refused to commit to protecting important EU environmental and climate laws post-Brexit.
Around 80% of environmental protection in Britain derives from EU laws, and as the UK Government promised that the Withdrawal (EU) bill would repeat those safeguards into law, critics are suggesting that the bill will leave much legislation unenforceable after Brexit.
Other cross-party MP’s have cautioned the inclusion of Henry VII clauses, giving ministers the power to alter and discard EU legislation transferred into UK law without democratic examination.
Keith Taylor wrote to Michael Gove earlier this month to ask the Environment Secretary to support numerous cross-party changes to the Withdrawal Bill.
He asked to ensure that necessary institutions and public bodies are created to monitor and enforce vital EU safeguards after Brexit.
The Green politician has criticised Defra‘s response to the letter, sent from Environment Minister, Therese Coffey, which does not address concerns about the working of EU laws.
Within the letter, it stated that “The European Withdrawal Bill will make sure the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law.”
Keith Taylor has responded to the letter and has said: “Despite Therese Coffey’s claim to the contrary, legal experts, environmental campaigners, and cross-party politicians are clear that, as drafted, the Withdrawal Bill puts at risk the largest body of environmental legislation in the world. And Michael Gove, who would have us all believe he is a born-again green, has confirmed, via Coffey, he has no plans to stop swathes of environmental law being lost post-Brexit.
“The letter also avoids the question of whether the UK will seek to retain the governing precepts of EU environmental law – the precautionary and polluter pays principles are entirely absent from the Withdrawal Bill.”