Brexit represents significant threat to Scotland’s natural environment, Roseanna Cunningham warns

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 6 October 2017 in News

Roseanna Cunningham warned EU (Withdrawal) Bill “directly threatened” Scotland’s ambitions on protecting the natural environment

Roseanna Cunningham - credit: David Anderson

The UK Government’s approach to Brexit represents a significant threat to Scotland’s natural environment, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has warned.

With 80 per cent of Scottish environmental legislation founded in EU law, Cunningham said the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which will transfer EU legislation into UK law, “directly threatened” Scotland’s ambitions on protecting the natural environment and mitigating climate change.

Speaking in Perth, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform told an audience of environmental NGOs she not accept any limits to Scotland’s powers over environmental quality and standards.


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She said: “Protecting devolution will allow us to drive forward our ambitious work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance environmental standards and create a cleaner, greener Scotland.”

The SNP, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems have all warned that the UK Government’s repeal bill amounts to a “power grab” on devolution.

In July Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, the Welsh First Minister, issued a joint statement accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of launching “an attack on the founding principles of devolution” by transferring EU law to the UK Government, while imposing new restrictions on the devolved administrations.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has previously argued that he wants to see a "green Brexit", but Cunningham warned a UK-wide network could undermine Scotland's targets.

Cunningham said: “Brexit, and specifically the UK Government’s proposed approach to Brexit, represents a significant potential threat to our natural environment and climate change ambitions, which is why we have always been clear that remaining within the EU is the best option for our future.”

She said: “My ambition is to carry through the main principles of EU law as we continue to increase our environmental ambitions. However, to achieve this, we may need to update legislation, which is directly threatened by the UK Government’s proposed EU (Withdrawal) Bill.”

She added: “No one is suggesting cutting ourselves off from collaboration, but this must be done on the basis of negotiation between governments, not imposed by the UK Government.”

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