Now a coalition made up of environmental groups, called Greener UK, has issued a “report card” with their assessment on whether the Government will be able to meet the environmental regulations outlined by Michael Gove in 2017, when he was Environment Secretary. The coalition group’s final analysis discovered that protections on climate, farming, fisheries, and water quality are similar to what the Government outlined. However, environmental regulations for chemicals, nature, air quality, and waste were found to be weaker.
Greener UK has said that there is still time for the Government to strengthen its plans
The Government’s much-delayed Environment Bill and farming reforms have yet to be finalised and the Government has an opportunity to address the shortfalls.
The coalition, which includes The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, and environmental law charity ClientEarth. has warned that the Government’s air pollution and water quality regulations are going to be weaker than under the EU system.
They claim that environmental principles in the UK will be watered down.
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But, the coalition’s report card said the Government’s new environmental regulations saw an “unconvincing commitment” to maintaining standards on imported foods.
They highlighted the new Fisheries Bill, to replace the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, as one example of a missed opportunity.
They claim that it does not rule out over-fishing.
Sarah Williams, of Greener UK, said: “The Government said Brexit would see improved environmental standards, but laws that protect people and nature are set to be weaker now than they were before.
“There is still time for the Government to make its plans stronger, particularly for chemicals and air pollution, and follow through on promising proposals for farming. We really hope it does so.”
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We were solemnly promised that the UK would maintain and enhance our environmental standards after Brexit.
“Although that might have happened in some areas, massive gaps have opened up as a result of this process – and enforcement is weaker across the board.”