A 25 Year Environment Strategy that won’t last five minutes

The Government’s long awaited 25 year strategy for saving the environment will make very little impact on decisions made in the Treasury or other Ministries, unless there is hard law to make sure it all happens. 

With the UK government already in breach of many of its environmental commitments, environmental campaigners are increasingly reaching for the law in order to make change happen. Client Earth have taken the Government to court over air pollution, and won three times. It’s taken repeated legal threats from the EU for the Government to do anything about cleaning up our polluted rivers. Continue reading “A 25 Year Environment Strategy that won’t last five minutes”

Sentient creatures and Brexit

The Commons came within 18 votes of passing a Caroline Lucas amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which would have included protection of sentient creatures. Early next year I shall put this same amendment to the Lords. It is an existing EU principle and one of many principles underpinning EU law and regulation that have been rejected as amendments by the government.

Continue reading “Sentient creatures and Brexit”

Pesticides in our food, our soil and our countryside

I asked the Government what steps they are taking to protect rural communities from pesticides and whether they intend to adopt non-chemical farming methods post-Brexit. It is almost inevitable that my question achieves little more than raising a neglected issue on behalf of neglected communities. However, it does allow other peers to join in with their own set of constituent concerns or issues. Continue reading “Pesticides in our food, our soil and our countryside”

A sad day for Parliament

The Lords failed to stick to its guns and amend the Article 50 Bill to allow a meaningful vote on the final outcome of negotiations and also to secure the rights of 3 million EU nationals who have made this country their home. I voted for both amendments, but unfortunately, only a few brave Labour peers ignored the Labour whip and voted. All others abstained. Continue reading “A sad day for Parliament”

My ’employment and equality’ amendment to Article 50

Employment and equality protections

This amendment, which was drafted in collaboration with the Women’s Equality Party, would ensure that, once the UK has withdrawn from the EU, any changes to workers’ rights or equality legislation derived from EU law would be subject to full Parliamentary scrutiny. Continue reading “My ’employment and equality’ amendment to Article 50”

My ‘super regulators’ amendment to Article 50

Environmental Regulators

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. Continue reading “My ‘super regulators’ amendment to Article 50”

My environmental enforcement amendment to Article 50

This amendment would ensure that, in relation to EU-derived environmental protections, the UK judicial system would be ready, following departure from the EU, to effectively perform the enforcement duties currently undertaken by institutions of the EU. Currently, the Commission acts as the guardian of the law and responds to legitimate complaints. Serious breaches are referred to the European Court of Justice, which has the power to sanction, including fines of many hundreds of millions of pounds. Continue reading “My environmental enforcement amendment to Article 50”

My ‘safety net’ amendment to Article 50 Bill

Transitional arrangements

This amendment would require the Government to set out, prior to triggering Article 50, a detailed plan for a transitional arrangement with the EU, covering the period between the end of the two-year Article 50 negotiation period, and the coming into force of a final Treaty on the UK’s new relationship with the EU. And it would further require that that plan be approved by Parliament. Continue reading “My ‘safety net’ amendment to Article 50 Bill”