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UK: Green Brexit: Safeguarding Britain's environment

Date published:
Baroness Jones, Baroness Parminter

Green Party peer Baroness Jones, who voted Leave, and Liberal Democrat Baroness Parminter, who backed Remain both assessed the risks and opportunities of the Brexit regarding UK environmental policy.

While there is a real risk that important environmental legislation and standards will be lost, Baroness Jones sees two opportunities for a higher degree of environmental protection through Brexit. First, the existing laws could be amended in order to become more efficient in holding the government accountable. Second, there is an opportunity to reimagine the UK’s strategy for food, farming and the countryside. While endless industrial development and growth is at the heart of the EU project, the UK now has the chance to stop policies and subsidies maximising short-term financial returns at the expense of soil and nature.

Baroness Parminter fears that environmental safeguards are weakened once the UK is outside the European framework. She therefore demands that the post-Brexit UK must provide the same or a higher level of environmental protection as the existing EU regulations do. Furthermore, Brexit means that the compliance framework provided by the European Commission and the European Court of Justice will be lost. Andrea Leadsom, the secretary of state for the environment, believes that the provisions of the Aarhus Convention should be fully implemented in order to ensure the possibility for everyone to initiate an action on environmental matters through UK courts in the future. Finally, the government has to set out a new overall framework such as successive environmental action plans, which will also be lost through Brexit.


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