CIWEM calls for environmental laws to be preserved in Brexit negotiations

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has pressed all political parties to uphold existing environmental laws as “non-negitiable” in Brexit talks.

It said: “The new government must commit to providing equivalent, or better, protection for the environment when we leave the EU.

The ‘precautionary principle’ and the ‘polluter pays principle’ – the fundamental foundations of environmental protection – must be transposed into UK law and any trade deal must treat environmental standards as non-negotiable.”

Moreover CIWEM said Brexit must not detract from addressing key environmental issues and that “the civil service must be given enough capacity to deliver EU exit alongside a meaningful domestic programme of government”.

CIWEM’s manifesto priorities are:

Progressive agriculture and land management – CIWEM said a replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy should ensure that public money is used efficiently to deliver sustainable food production whilst improving the provision of public goods including ecosystem services, public health, high water quality and catchment level flood resilience. Also, a new Environment Act should establish the institutional frameworks to deliver measurable environmental improvement on the ground. This should put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing so that it can set targets and scrutinise government on progress in delivering environmental improvement.

Long term climate resilience – A broader assessment of resilience beyond the 2016 National Flood Resilience Review is needed, CIWEM said, as we “currently have an incomplete picture of climate resilience, so spending may not be optimised to deliver value for money…Uncoordinated approaches potentially drive imbalanced priorities, for example, some water companies may plan for a 1 in 500 year drought but only a 1 in 30 year sewer flood”.

Abstraction reform– CIWEM said: “This long awaited and delayed reform is urgently needed to increase resilience to drought and address future risks to water availability.”

A low carbon society – A plan is needed to lay out the actions needed to deliver the fifth carbon budget and beyond.

Clean air – A new Clean Air Act must clean up the air we breathe.