Baroness McIntosh backs implementation of agreed water directives post Brexit

As part of the House of Lords committee debates on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill last week, Baroness McIntosh of Pickering raised the issue of the UK implementation of directives under discussion in Brussels that will be agreed but not transposed into British law before our exit day of 29 March 2019.

Her amendment 18 sought to facilitate the transposing into UK law of directives that fall into that category. These include revisions to the Water Framework Directive, the Bathing Water Directive and the Wastewater Directive. Baroness McIntosh (pictured) noted: “Given the current timetable for the revisions being discussed in Brussels by the European institutions, it is quite likely that the directives will be agreed in the very month that we leave the European Union.”

She explained: “The purpose of this amendment is simply to clarify whether that would leave the door open to the directives being transposed at a later date, thereby guaranteeing the environmental protections that water companies themselves might wish to adopt, and which the Government and indeed all of us as consumers would wish to see implemented. So my question to the Minister is simply: is it the Government’s wish to facilitate the transposing of directives that are left in this halfway house into UK law after 29 March 2019, and in those circumstances would they welcome this amendment?”

There was an extensive debate, with Peers speaking in support and opposition. Baroness McIntosh withdrew the amendment after hearing its wording may not provide a legal basis for her objective. She said: “This amendment has established that a legal basis is required…I would request that the government come forward by Report with the legal basis in the form of an amendment on which the House could agree.”