1 July 2017
MPs are calling for a new Environmental Protection Bill to be added to the government’s list of policy priorities for the year ahead as laid out in last week’s Queen’s Speech.
Led by Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, the environment amendment has cross-party support from Labour MPs David Lammy and Kerry McCarthy, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, the Scottish National Democrat MP Chris Law, and Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts.
The amendment, which was introduced last week and will likely be voted for on Thursday June 29, states that “in negotiating our future relationship with the EU, the Government should opt for the most environmentally effective way forward.”
This includes introducing a new bill to “transfer all relevant EU law into domestic law by way of primary legislation”. This legislation should include “the meaningful transfer of existing targets and to set new and ambitious targets” as well as provide access to citizens to environmental justice.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Lucas said “a Bill on environmental protection is conspicuous by its absence. Given the significance of the EU’s role in environmental protection, I think that this is a particularly grave omission on the part of the government’s Brexit team.”
The Queen’s speech last week introduced this year’s legislative program, the majority of which is concerned with leaving the EU. The only mention of climate change came when the Queen reiterated support for the Paris climate agreement.
Since then Theresa May’s government has officially announced its deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP was called “dinosaurs” in Parliament by Lucas last week following the Queen’s speech due to their history of climate denial and denying the science behind evolution.
In a statement to DeSmog UK, Lucas said: “It’s astounding that the Queen’s Speech didn’t contain plans for a bill to protect the environment in the Brexit process. The Government is aiming to pass eight separate pieces of Brexit legislation, yet they're leaving environmental protection behind despite 80 percent of our laws in that area coming from the EU.”
She continued: “I'd urge MPs from all parties to back my call for an Environmental Protection Act. Such a bill would both strengthen our environmental laws and ensure that a legal and regulatory framework is in place to enforce them.”