Hundreds of Britain’s environmental laws covering water quality, sewage pollution, clean air, habitat protection and pesticide use are lined up to be removed from UK law under a government bill.
Environmentalists have accused Liz Truss’s government of reneging on a post-Brexit commitment to halt nature’s decline by 2030. They say the repeal of 570 environmental laws that were transferred from EU law after Brexit amounts to deregulation free for all that leaves the environment unprotected.
The RSPB said it was deeply concerned that the government was about to launch an all-out attack on laws protecting nature.
The bill presented to parliament outlines how 570 environmental laws and hundreds more covering all government departments, including transport, health and social care, working hours and other areas, are being lined up to remove them from the law. UK or rewrite them. These include habitat regulations that have been vital in protecting places for wildlife over the last 30 years and laws covering the release of nitrates and phosphates into rivers.
The laws remained in place after Brexit when then-Conservative Environment Secretary Michael Gove promised that UK environmental laws would not be watered down.
The EU law reform and repeal bill held was presented before parliament on Thursday. Its purpose is to repeal certain withheld EU laws; make provisions regarding the interpretation of retained EU law and its relationship to other laws; to make a provision relating to powers to amend retained EU law to allow certain retained EU law to be reformulated, replaced or updated; to allow updating of restatements and replacement provision.”
Introducing the bill to parliament, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “The retained EU law was never intended to remain on the statute book indefinitely. Now is the right time to end the special status of EU legislation retained in the UK statute book on 31 December 2023, to fully exploit the opportunities of Brexit and support the UK’s unique culture of innovation. United.
“The bill will override most withheld EU law to expire on December 31, 2023. All withheld EU law contained in national secondary legislation and withheld EU law will expire on this date, unless otherwise maintained.”
Richard Benwell, executive director of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, said removing the laws would be “legislative vandalism.” Rewriting them would be an unacceptable setback for current law protections for the environment, he said.
The Conservative manifesto promised “the most ambitious environmental program of any country in the world.”
Ruth Chambers, a senior fellow at Greener UK, said the planned derailment of hundreds of laws protecting air, rivers, wildlife and food standards would derail government promises and put public health at risk.
Chambers said the December 2023 schedule was too tight. She said: “The new government is hurtling toward free-for-all deregulation where vital environmental protections are broken and public health is put at risk.”
“Ministers are pushing for the largest repeal exercise to be completed in just 15 months, while departmental and civil service budgets are being slashed.
“Not only is this impossible to meet on schedule, it risks dire consequences and makes government promises to restore nature and remove sewage from our rivers obsolete.”