Hundreds of British environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protection and the use of pesticides are set to be removed from UK law by a government bill.
Environmentalists have accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a commitment made after Brexit to halt nature’s degradation by 2030. They say repealing 570 environmental laws repealed from EU law after Brexit amounts to deregulation Free for all. Unprotected environment.
The RSPB said it was very concerned that the government was about to launch an all-out attack on laws that protect nature.
The bill before Parliament lays out how 570 environmental laws, and hundreds more covering every government department, including transport, health and social care, working hours and other areas, are drawn up to be removed from UK law or rewritten. These include habitat regulations that have been vital in protecting wildlife habitats for the past 30 years and laws covering the release of nitrate and phosphate into rivers.
The laws were kept in post-Brexit when the then Conservative environment minister, Michael Gove, promised that UK environmental laws would not be relaxed.
Retain EU law and abolish reform law It was presented to Parliament on Thursday. Its purpose is “to repeal certain retained EU law; to make provisions regarding the interpretation of retained EU law and its relationship with other law; to make provisions regarding powers to amend retained EU law to enable reformulation, replacement or updating of certain retained EU law; to enable Update paraphrase and provide replacement.”
While introducing the bill to Parliament, Business Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The EU law retained was not intended to remain on the statute book indefinitely. It is now time to end the special status of EU law retained in the book. The Statutes of the United Kingdom on 31 December 2023, in order to take full advantage of the opportunities of Brexit and to support the unique culture of innovation in the UK.
“The bill will expire the majority of retained EU law so that it expires on December 31, 2023. All retained EU law contained in domestic secondary legislation and direct EU legislation retained will expire on this date, unless otherwise retained.”
Repealing the laws would be “legislative subversion,” Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said. Rewriting it, he said, would constitute an unacceptable delay to the protections provided by current environmental law.
The governor’s statement promised “the most ambitious environmental program of any country on Earth.”
Ruth Chambers, senior fellow at Greener UK, said a planned derailment of hundreds of laws protecting air, river, wildlife and food standards would spoil government pledges and put public health at risk.
Chambers said the December 2023 timeline was too tight, adding: “The new government is rushing toward free-for-all liberalization as vital environmental protections are torn apart and public health is at risk.”
“Ministers are pushing for the largest-ever repeal of the law to be completed in just 15 months, at the same time that civil service and departmental budgets are being cut.
“Not only is this undeliverable in the time frame, it risks dire consequences and renders government promises to restore nature and rid our rivers of sewage obsolete.”