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EVIDENCE SUBMITTED TO CONSULTATION ON ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND PRINCIPLES

William Wilson, Barrister – Director, Wyeside Consulting Ltd, has submitted evidence to the Defra consultation on Environmental Governance and Principles.

Defra’s consultation on ‘Environmental Principles and Governance after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union’, which closed on 2 August 2018, is probably the most important consultation affecting environmental laws to be introduced for at least the last ten years. It goes right to the heart of how environmental laws will, or should, or may not be, enforced, after the UK leaves the EU.

It proposes a new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, to set up a new body with the essential task of holding government and public bodies to account for environmental law enforcement, in place of enforcement of EU law by the European Commission and Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Bill will also address how the key environmental principles which underpin EU environmental laws should be reflected in UK laws after Brexit. The new Bill will only apply to England, as responsibility for the environment is a devolved matter, but similar issues will arise for each devolved administration. Debates continue over the workability of having four separate enforcement bodies, or a single body for the UK applying consistent standards but (and this is now a pressing need) taking real and full account of the concerns in each of the UK’s constituent parts.

William Wilson argued that given the current failures of enforcement under existing legal structures, there now needs to be a legal duty upon all levels of government “to secure the effective enforcement of environmental laws” for which they are responsible. He also argued that government and public bodies must, as a minimum, have regard to environmental principles when discharging their functions, and must commit not to dilute the existing application of those environmental principles where already reflected in EU law; and that it is time to introduce the principle of environmental justice to UK law.

For further information, or to receive a copy of the evidence submitted on these points, please contact William Wilson at info@wyesideconsulting.com, tel. +44(0)1225-730-407

William Wilson will also be speaking on environmental principles at the UKELA Wales Working party meeting in Cardiff on 16 October 2018

William Wilson