This amendment would ensure that, following withdrawal from the EU, the UK’s environmental regulators and enforcement agencies – namely the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs – are adequately funded and authorised to effectively perform the regulatory functions currently undertaken by EU institutions. We need powerful regulators and courts to ensure that breaches of the law are challenged.
For the last forty years, this system of environmental enforcement in the UK has been grounded in the legislation and institutions of the European Union – notably, the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.
Accordingly, it is simply astonishing that, beyond a few off-hand comments from Ministers – and one line in the White Paper – we currently have no detail about how this important system of checks and safeguards for the natural environment will be replaced. The Government is asking us to vote blindly, and without caveat, for a major upheaval in the way our countryside, wildlife and natural environment is protected.
Clause 1, page 1, line 5, at end insert—
“( ) A notification may only be given under subsection (1) once—
- Her Majesty’s Government has laid before each House of Parliament a report identifying the impact of withdrawal from the European Union on the independence and effectiveness of environmental regulatory bodies, including a detailed assessment of the capacity of those bodies to implement and enforce environmental legislation; and
- the report has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.”