Green groups warn on post-Brexit environmental 'fall-out'
Publish date: 12 March 2019
Issue Number: 596
Diary: Legalbrief Environmental
Leaving the EU could cause ‘untold damage’ to Britain's ecosystems and undermine its attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, green groups warned last week, calling on the government to prioritise the environment after Brexit. According to a News24 report, with 80% of Britain's current environmental guidelines – governing everything from air pollution to waste disposal – coming from Brussels, there are fears that Ministers are ignoring the ecological fallout of exiting the bloc. ‘If we have a no-deal Brexit, the government is going to be busy with other things,’ said Richard Black, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), an environmental think tank. ‘In terms of policy development, there's an awful lot of catching up to do, frankly.’ Prime Minister Theresa May has promised that EU green guidelines would be adopted into national law after Brexit. But environmentalists say there is little legislation in the pipeline to ensure Britain toes the line in terms of emissions, conservation and air quality – and virtually no legal recourse if it doesn't. ‘It's instructive that a large number of the cases that end up before the European Court of Justice are environmental,’ said Amy Mount, who heads the Greener UK Unit at the Green Alliance. ‘Right now, people in the UK benefit from access to a strong, independent body which has real powers to make governments across the EU enforce their own laws rather than ignoring them.’