Green groups call for protection of environmental laws

A coalition of green lobby groups is calling for protection of environmental legislation – including laws to limit air pollution – within the government’s Repeal Bill, which is due to be outlined tomorrow (13 July).

The call has come from Greener UK – which is made up of organisations including ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Green Alliance and the Campaign for Better Transport.

The Repeal Bill is due to be published tomorrow (13 July)

The ‘Repeal Bill’ which is due for publication tomorrow, is the piece of legislation which will bring existing European regulations – including those around the environment – into UK law ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

GreenerUK has been seeking to gather support among MPs for an amendment to the bill which will ensure that it ‘does not dilute the force of law which has cleaned up UK beaches and is tackling the air quality crisis’.

MPs including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas are in support of the measure, according to Greener UK.

Protection

Shaun Spiers, chair of Greener UK and executive director at Green Alliance, said: “No one voted for dirtier beaches or worse air quality. The government has promised to bring all environmental protections into domestic law, but laws are only effective when there are strong institutions to enforce them.

“The ultimate risk of fines imposed by the European Court has led the UK government to clean up its act several times – for example, when it stopped pumping raw sewage into oceans on a regular basis and, more recently, being ordered by the courts to publish stronger air quality plans.

“To secure the high level of environmental protection that the public overwhelmingly wants and needs, UK governance institutions must be sufficiently resourced, independent and expert. Otherwise, environmental law will fail.

“The government will protest its good intentions, but it should be establishing systems that are proof against any future government that may want to weaken environmental and other protections.”