Environmental law undermined by Brexit 'power grab', warn Scottish and Welsh ministers

Written by Tom Freeman on 17 August 2017 in News

Scottish and Welsh ministers to discuss Brexit impact on environment

Roseanna Cunningham - credit Holyrood

Scotland's Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham will visit Cardiff today to discuss Brexit with her Welsh counterpart Lesley Griffiths.

They will express concerns that the UK Government's repatriation of powers from the EU will damage efforts to protect and enhance the environment. 

Around 80 per cent of current Scots environmental law originated at EU level, and the Scottish Government fears the UK's great repeal bill will mean the powers will be taken to Westminster.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said he wants a "green Brexit" but Cunningham warned a UK-wide network could undermine Scotland's targets.

“Imposing a UK-wide framework for the environment risks undermining the significant progress Scotland has made, which has seen us win international recognition for our work on climate change and the circular economy," she said.

“We are not opposed in principle to UK-wide frameworks in certain areas but this must be through agreement  - not imposition.

“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 for everyone.”

Speaking ahead of today's summit, Griffiths said the Welsh Government shared the concerns.

“Our approach has not been about trading off agriculture and the environment, it’s about both," she said.

"You can’t have one without the other. The Bill as it stands has the potential to seriously impact on this approach by locking us into an outdated framework while also removing our ability to bring forward reforms. 

“This is why, like Scotland, we want EU powers in devolved areas to come straight to Wales. Welcoming my Scottish counterpart to Wales today will allow us to continue to work together to develop a strong future which benefits everyone.”

There have been several joint statements by the Scottish and Welsh Governments over Brexit in recent months, with both First Ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones saying Holyrood and theb Welsh Assembly will not give legislative consent for the UK withdrawal bill.

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