Concern is growing that EU environmental safeguards will not be transferred when the UK leaves. That there will be a gap in provision.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK Government, said:
“..these are interpretative principles. They are there to govern how policy is designed and devised. I do not think the right answer, and I know lots of environmental lawyers take this view, is to place these principles on a statutory basis.”
He also wishes there to be a UK body to oversee environmental ‘principles’. This may include matters which are currently in the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
Giving evidence to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee Michael Gove said:
” I could not say anything definitive about a timescale because our thinking has not yet
reached that point.”
“…it is important we have a UK framework that properly allows the DAs [Devolved Administrations] to do what they consider to be appropriate in their own space but at the same time preserves UK-wide rules. We are very keen to get down to the nitty gritty of discussion on what should be in those frameworks with the DAs. Until recently, there may be an opening now, the Scottish Government instructed its officials not to engage in some of these areas. I hope we will get a more constructive approach now because it is in all our interests to crack on.”
Michael Gove intends to produce a 25 Year Environmental Plan as a precursor to a 25 Year Plan to ‘reform’ the farming industry.
In light of this uncertainty the impact of Brexit on animal welfare and current environmental safeguards is to be examined by a committee in the Scottish Parliament.
The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) is seeking your views.
The Scottish Government’s environmental policies underline the 4 main principles from EU environment policy:
- pollution at source
- ‘polluter pays’
The following are the main points the committee wishes respondents to focus on:
1. How important are the EU principles of:
- the precautionary principle
- preventive action
- environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source
- the polluter should pay
- animal sentience.
2. How and where have these principles had an impact on environmental and animal welfare policy in Scotland?
3. Views on the appropriateness of retaining/adopting/enshrining these EU principles in law or alternative principles/approaches that could be adopted.
4. Views on if and how environmental principles could and should be enshrined in law in Scotland and enforced.
5. Examples of where key environmental principles have been enshrined in domestic legislation elsewhere.
ECCLR Committee Convener, Graeme Dey MSP, said:
“Clearly, we are in uncharted territory when it comes to Brexit and no one can fully anticipate the impact this will have in Scotland.
“But our Committee intends to explore in detail whether or not environmental and animal welfare protections will be eroded as a result of Brexit. We’ll be examining how important EU principles are, such as the precautionary approach and animal sentience, and considering if and how these should be retained.
How to submit your views:
electronically in Word format to the following address:
Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee
Closing date: midday Thursday 29 March 2018.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame