Last week, the UK Government released their plan for ‘Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union’.
On Wednesday the 29th March 2017 the UK officially handed in their notice with the European Union by issuing a letter to trigger Article 50. Putting the politics aside and not commenting on the UK Governments recent rescinding of environmental commitments, policy and legislation the following day the Government provided welcome information for the Environmental Protection Sector.
The Great Repeal Bill stated the following intentions:
- Commitment to ensuring we are the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it
- Acknowledgement of the benefits of the current legislations
- The Great Repeal Bill will ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law
This news is welcomed by CarbonPlan and should appease much anxiousness and confusion about the direction of travel for the industry and the targets we are to ‘adhere to’ in the next few years. We look forward to working with stakeholders to meet these targets.
A few particular legislations that we now know will be implemented &/or stay in force are:
- Energy Performance of Buildings Directive including Zero Carbon new buildings by 2020
- Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
- Heat network metering and billing regulations
However we hope that the note about consultations being required in the future to amend the future regulatory frameworks does not point to their intention to start unpicking some of the policies after 2 years. In addition specific commitment to retain the Habitats Directive and meeting air quality targets would be welcomed which in parts of the country the UK is very poor.
The complete wording of the Bill stated the following for Environmental Protection with a copy of the full document at the end of the article:
“The Government is committed to ensuring that we become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.
The UK’s current legislative framework at national, EU and international level has delivered tangible environmental benefits, such as cleaner rivers and reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide and ozone depleting substances emissions. Many existing environmental laws also enshrine standards that affect the trade in products and substances across different markets, within the EU as well as internationally.
The Great Repeal Bill will ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law. This will provide businesses and stakeholders with maximum certainty as we leave the EU. We will then have the opportunity, over time, to ensure our legislative framework is outcome driven and delivers on our overall commitment to improve the environment within a generation. The Government recognises the need to consult on future changes to the regulatory frameworks, including through parliamentary scrutiny.”