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UK government proposes independent body to advise on post-Brexit environmental issues

The UK government is to consult on the formation of an independent body to hold it to account for upholding environmental standards in England following the withdrawal from the EU.20 Nov 2017

Environment secretary Michael Gove said the new body would encourage transparency and help prevent “careless or irresponsible behaviour damaging our natural environment”.

The European Commission is currently responsible for overseeing environmental decisions and introducing legislation and regulations governing issues such as air and water quality and the protection of endangered species, although the UK must implement EU legislation in national law.

The government said the environmental principles which underpin the system, including sustainable development, are currently only set out in EU treaties. The planned consultation over the independent body is expected to explore the scope and content of a new policy statement to ensure environmental principles underpin policy making.

The consultation, to be launched next year, will also look at whether Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will take a similar approach to England on environmental issues.

Shortly after the Brexit vote in June last year planning expert Jennifer Ballantyne of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, warned that the withdrawal could have a significant impact on the way the UK approached carbon reduction, with the removal of EU targets taking away incentives for the government to pursue a green energy strategy.