Government accepts need for environmental watchdog but its independence must be confirmed
Today in the Commons the Solictor-General, Robert Buckland MP, announced that the Government will accept an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill proposing an environmental watchdog with legal powers to hold the government to account.
Commenting on the announcement, Greenpeace UK political adviser Paul Keenlyside said:
“The Government has accepted that to uphold environmental protections after Brexit, a green watchdog needs to have the teeth to take enforcement action where necessary. This is good news. But ministers missed a chance to reaffirm the watchdog’s independence, and they should correct this at the earliest opportunity. Beyond ‘having regard’ for environmental principles, ministers should also be required to act according to them. Anything less would represent a loss of environmental protection at a time when British wildlife is facing an existential threat from pollution, climate change and habitat loss.”
Nearly 120,000 Greenpeace supporters signed a petition calling on the UK Government to give the environmental watchdog legal enforcement powers:
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