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  • by Trevor Loveday

QC named as head of interim watchdog to shield environment after a No Deal Brexit

The “distinguished environmental lawyer” recently appointed by the government to head up an interim environmental watchdog in the event of a no-deal Brexit has been named as Professor Richard Macrory by the respected ENDS Report where he is a legal corespondent.

Responding last week to questions from the Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, Environment secretary, Michael Gove (pictured) heralded the establishment of a “shadow body” that would play an temporary role as an environmental watchdog should the UK quit the EU without a deal. The body would, Gove said, fill an inevitable gap in in environmental protection and governance before it passed to an Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) which is to be established under forthcoming legislation.

Gove told the committee: “We’ve approached and secured the agreement of a distinguished lawyer to lead that body,” without naming the person.

“I’m confident the committee will recognise that, in the sub-optimal situation of no deal we have secured the support of an eminent, independent and effective watchdog,” Gove told the Lords. The person, Gove said, would be “nobody’s patsy.”

Asked whether the interim watchdog would have adequate resources and powers Gove claimed emphatically that it would. “Anybody who thinks a no-deal Brexit is an opportunity to play fast and loose,’ will be investigated and face “the full rigour of the law.”

The body would, said Gove, “be responsible to advise us and to scrutinise and monitor any breeches of law” and refer them to the OEP once it came into play. Premises had been allocated for the body, Gove said, and he confirmed it would be a Non-Departmental Government Body.

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