MPs warn post-Brexit regulation plans could weaken environment protection

The Environmental Audit Committee has warned that government plans for post-Brexit UK environmental regulation could have a “chilling effect” on the country’s environmental protection.

The committee has published an exchange of letters between its chair, Mary Creagh, (pictured) and ministers at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in which Creagh raised concerns about the government’s indication that it would apply a rule established under the Cameron administration that would remove three pieces of regulation for every new piece brought in.

The Committee said 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.”

Creaghs said: 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.”

It has drawn attention to a memorandum signed in August this year addressing

measures for curbing substances that deplete the Earth’s ozone layer. In the memorandum the government said it intended to “incorporate EU law into UK law, where appropriate, following our exit from the EU,” and went on to say: “On the assumption that the final step would involve new regulatory requirements, it may be subject to the "one in, three out" rule.”

She 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; or

· Environmental measures that would previously have been exempt (because they were EU regulated) but now will be domestic.