Chair raises concerns over post Brexit environmental regulation

13 December 2017

The Environmental Audit Committee publishes three letters between its Chair - Mary Creagh MP - and Ministers at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

In the letters, the Chair has raised concerns about the ‘one in three out’ principle in relation to environmental regulations post-Brexit. The ‘one in, three out’ rule was a commitment undertaken by the previous Government (2015 – 2017) to remove three pieces of regulation for every new piece brought in. It made exemptions for transposed EU law and international obligations.

The Government had signalled that the ‘one in, three out’ rule might be enforced in its explanatory memorandum in respect of future regulations to reduce climate change-causing gases under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Specifically, the Chair has asked if the principle will apply to:

  • Measures transferring EU law into UK law through the EU Withdrawal Bill
  • Measures to create new UK bodies or regulations to replace EU bodies/regulations under the Bill
  • Environmental measures that would previously have been exempt (because they were EU regulated) but now will be domestic.

The Government has said that is has not decided whether to apply this principle for this Parliament. The Committee raised concerns that this principle could make Government less likely to adopt future environmental protections as more regulations become UK, rather than EU, law once the UK leaves the EU,

Mary Creagh, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said:

“EU environmental regulations have been central to protecting our treasured natural spaces and iconic British species. As we leave the EU, we are concerned that the ‘one in, three out’ principle could have a chilling effect on future environmental laws and regulations. It is vital that the UK’s environmental protections are in no way weakened outside of the European Union”

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