Monday, 16 July 2018

Brexit: and protecting Devon's environment

The County Council has several responsibilities when it comes to the environment:
Futures Forum: Devon County Council elections: the issues > environment

A year ago, the council became the first in the country to urge the government to guarantee protection for wildlife after Brexit:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the County Council protecting Devon's nature >>> urging the government to guarantee protection for wildlife after Brexit

This Thursday, a motion calls for proper guarantees:

Motion: Calling on the government to retain environmental protections post Brexit

Posted: 14 Jul 2018

The RSPB and other environmentalist organisations are urging the government to beef up its post Brexit environmental policies and laws, during a consultation on proposed protections after the UK leaves the European Union, which has stringent protection measures for much wildlife and landscapes.

In Devon areas protected by EU legislation include Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons, the Exe Estuary and some of Dartmoor, to name just a few. It is vital, given how fast nature is depleting due to climate change and habitat loss, that these rules are at the very least replicated.

The following motion goes before Devon County Council full council this Thursday, will be referred to cabinet and return to full council in early October for a debate and decision.

This council shares the government’s desire to leave our environment in a better state than it is now. But its proposals are unlikely to achieve that ambition. They will leave the environment with weaker protection than it currently has under our EU membership - a long way off the ‘world-leading watchdog’ it promised.
To deliver the protection the environment needs, this council calls on the government to ensure that the proposed new law, must at least:
• Deliver world-leading environmental governance, including the watchdog promised, with powers that are at least as strong than any other environmental watchdog in the world, which any citizen can complain to for free.
• Deliver a watchdog which will investigate all breaches of environmental law by any part of government, including reviewing and challenging significant, strategic or nationally important planning and infrastructure decisions, robustly enforce the law including through fines and legal action, and ensure public bodies act to ensure damage is restored.
• Put environmental principles into law, not just policy. These principles should include at a minimum, those environmental principles found in the EU treaties (for example, that principle that polluters should pay to rectify damage they cause), but the bill should allow for the addition of new principles where appropriate.
• Set legal targets for nature’s recovery, against which this and future governments will be held to account, to ensure long-term action that will leave the environment in a better state.
• Work with other countries, in a transparent way, to co-develop and co-design environmental governance arrangements and secure our existing environmental principles.
This Council recognises the huge importance of the Devon environment – both for local residents and visitors who will support the local economy, as well as the wildlife, and urges government to listen to environmental organisations such as the RSPB and significantly strengthen proposals to meet its own strong ambitions for nature’s recovery.

Pic: Enjoying Dartmoor river earlier this amazing summer!

Motion: Calling on the government to retain environmental protections post Brexit - Claire Wright 

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