Gov Response To Environment Plan Enquiry “Woolly”, Says Creagh

The Government’s response to an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) enquiry into its 25 year Plan for the Environment has been labelled “woolly” by EAC chair Mary Creagh.

In a statement publishing the response by Government, Creagh (pictured above at RWM 2018) said it was of “great concern” that there was no firm commitments on the future governance of the environment after Brexit.

The EAC statement also said there is no confirmation on whether the Government’s intended new environment watchdog will hold all public bodies to account, whether climate change will be in its remit or how it will exact enforcement.

The EAC said it will be “closely monitoring” the details in the proposed draft legislation and forthcoming policy statement.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the EAC said: “The Government’s woolly response makes no firm commitments on the future governance of the environment after Brexit, which is of great concern, given that the Agriculture Bill is making its way through Parliament.

“If we want a world-leading environment, we need a strong, independent environmental watchdog which Ministers cannot quietly put to sleep. The Government’s draft Bill must make the new watchdog accountable to Parliament”

“If we want a world-leading environment, we need a strong, independent environmental watchdog which Ministers cannot quietly put to sleep. The Government’s draft Bill must make the new watchdog accountable to Parliament.

“It is deeply worrying that the response does not commit to replace the one third of EU environmental legislation that cannot be copied and pasted into UK law after Brexit. It should set five yearly wildlife budgets, so people can see taxpayers’ money being spent on public goods like flood prevention, protecting species from extinction and restoring our soils.”

The ESA says the Government’s response also does not commit to replace the one third of EU environmental legislation (air, waste, water, chemicals) that cannot be copied and pasted into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal Act).

It does, however, commit to producing an annual progress reports on the 25 Year Plan and to report on changes in a comprehensive suite of environmental indicators and metrics that are currently under development. Government also agrees with the EAC’s recommendation to undertake an audit of the main existing environmental targets that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The response also revealed no devolved administration has agreed to the proposal of a UK wide body to replace the role of the European Commission and European Environment Agency.

It also suggests that Government is preparing to make sure a new statutory body is in place “as soon as is practically achievable” in the event of a no deal exit.

For the full response click here.


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