• International Workplace
  • 21 November 2017

New environmental protections to deliver a green Brexit

Plans to consult on a new independent body that would hold government to account for upholding environmental standards in England after we leave the European Union have been set out by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove.

To help deliver a green Brexit, ministers will consult on a new independent statutory body to advise and challenge government and potentially other public bodies on environmental legislation – stepping in when needed to hold these bodies to account and enforce standards.

A consultation on the specific powers and scope of the new body will be launched early next year.

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said:

“We will deliver a green Brexit, where environmental standards are not only maintained but enhanced. We will consult on creating an independent body – encouraging transparency and preventing careless or irresponsible behaviour damaging our natural environment.

“We will consult as widely as possible on these proposals to ensure we get this important decision right for future generations.”

Currently, environmental decisions made in the UK – from improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species – are overseen by the European Commission, which monitors targets, scrutinises new legislation and takes action against illegal behaviour.

This current system is underpinned by a number of ‘environmental principles’, such as sustainable development and the polluter pays principle, which puts the onus on polluting individuals or businesses to pay to repair damage.

Although these principles are already central to government environmental policy, they are not set out in one place besides the EU treaties. The proposed consultation on the statutory body will therefore also explore the scope and content of a new policy statement to ensure environmental principles underpin policy making.