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Scottish Government to establish environmental advisory panel in event of no deal Brexit

Andy Magee via Flickr

Scottish Government to establish environmental advisory panel in event of no deal Brexit

The Scottish Government will respond to a no deal Brexit by establishing an advisory panel to ensure environmental standards are maintained, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

The panel would aim to replicate the EU Commission’s role in scrutinising environmental compliance by the Scottish Government and other public bodies.

With around 80 per cent of Scottish environmental protections based in EU law, campaigners have repeatedly expressed concern over the effect of Brexit on safeguards.

Meanwhile ministers have previously warned the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which aimed to transfer EU legislation into UK law, “directly threatened” Scotland’s ambitions on protecting the natural environment and mitigating climate change.

The panel would be designed and chaired by Jim Martin, the current chair of the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, who would be joined by a range of other experts with backgrounds in the law and practice of environmental regulation.

Cunningham said: “We do not want to leave the European Union and I am glad a ‘no deal’ Brexit has been pushed back, but if at any point that does happen, I have been consistently clear that I will not allow it to have any impact on Scotland’s environmental standards.

“The Programme for Government sets out our commitment to put in place interim, non-legislative measures in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit to ensure that current standards do not slip while we develop longer term solutions.

“Planning for the establishment of an interim panel, which would also help inform the design of our long-term governance approach, is one of many actions the Scottish Government has been taking to ensure we are prepared for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“I will set a detailed remit for the panel and expect it to undertake fact-finding and analysis work on key areas of compliance with environmental law, advise Scottish Ministers and seek changes to rectify any issues.”

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