Five things you should know about Gove’s ‘green Brexit’
Over and over again we’ve been promised a ‘green Brexit’.
Prime Minister Theresa May pledged “let me be very clear, Brexit will not mean a lowering of environmental standards.”
And last year Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, spoke about plans for “a new, world-leading” environmental watchdog that would “give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account… we are in no doubt that it must have real bite.”
But now that more detailed plans have been released, it looks like the ‘green Brexit’ we were promised is under threat. Here’s five things you should know about the proposals.
1. The government’s proposal is a watchdog with no teeth
When the government’s proposal came out this month, while it did include a green watchdog, it wouldn’t have any power to initiate legal action.
This means that if the government fails to uphold or enforce environmental standards, all they can expect to receive is a strongly worded letter!
2. This is why we need a STRONG watchdog
A watchdog is an independent body that monitors and investigates public bodies to make sure they’re following the law correctly.
At the moment the EU holds the UK government to account on meeting environmental standards – things like clean water, clean air and strong protections for wildlife. When we leave the EU, we’ll need something to take its place, or there’ll be no one to uphold environmental law, and that would be… disastrous.
The watchdog would be responsible for things like keeping our beaches clean, creating protected areas for species (like porpoises) and protecting precious forest land (read about how the EU just prohibited logging in this ancient Polish forest that was under threat).
3. And this is what a strong watchdog looks like…
For the green watchdog to be truly effective, and uphold our environmental standards – not degrade them – it must:
- Have the duty to review and investigate public bodies to check they’re following environmental laws correctly
- Have legal powers to enforce the law
- Allow citizens and organisations to initiate complaints (people like you and me)
- Be transparent.
4. We need to act quickly
The proposals were released this month, and the government is giving everyone from huge corporations to individuals like you and me the chance to respond with our thoughts.
Thing is, a lot of people want to avoid rules and regulations that protect our environment and keep the air we breathe and products we use safe – including some big businesses and even some politicans. Suspicious eh?
We need to make sure our voices are heard too – and make sure we’re louder… the deadline is 2 August.
5. This is how you can help
Now is the time to act:
Michael Gove and Philip Hammond are the key decision makers on this issue, so we’ve started a petition addressed to them demanding an effective green watchdog. And don’t worry, we’ll keep Theresa May well informed too. 😉
Want to go one step further? Share the petition with friends and family to make sure the government gets our message.