221 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2018
    1. our current position on the common agricultural policy. It was introduced before some of these environmental principles were refined and used in European legislation. As a result, we are now in the ridiculous position where the polluter pays principle would have helped us, as taxpayers and as water company customers and payers, avoid paying farmers twice. We are paying water companies to pay farmers to stop doing something that, as taxpayers, we are paying farmers to do. The polluter pays principle, had it existed when the common agricultural policy was first set in place, would have been a hugely valuable way of preventing that very wasteful situation.

      interesting linking of polluter pays principle to improving EU legislation

    2. I also share the anxiety of the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, about whether there will be real welly behind the regulator. I was chief executive of the Environment Agency, the environmental regulator, which had to help negotiate the urban wastewater treatment directive infraction proceedings that produced the Thames tideway. In spite of wanting and willing there to be an example elsewhere in the world of a body established by a Government that is capable of fining its own Government —and hence its own establishing power—I have not been able to find one. I hope, however, that Ministers will look assiduously at producing that result.
    3. Most of our environmental protection today is as a result of being in the EU. Ministers wanting to deliver have been helped to do so by the threat of infraction. So the thing that is missing from all this—although the noble Lord, Lord Krebs, touched on it—is the governance and delivery of the sanction. If it is not delivered, what is the sanction? If it is not money, it will not work.
    4. you cannot understand the law unless you understand the principles. That has always been the situation. All we are saying is: let us make our law understandable by the principles to which we have assented and to which, we are told, the present Government wish to continue to assent.
    5. The last time I checked, the environmental directorate of the EU had taken 34 cases against the UK Government, of which it had won 30.
    6. one essential EU measure is the urban wastewater directive of 1991, without which we would not have built the Thames super-sewer? I am less reticent than the noble Lord because, on a weekly basis, untreated raw sewage flows into the Thames right outside this House. We are already nearly two decades overdue in implementing that directive, and without EU law we would not be doing so at all.

      interesting example of failure to implement without EU pressure

    7. The vital issue is that the environment needs to have a framework within which people can have confidence that their interests will in fact be met. In the past, we have had the framework of the European Union. The Government say we can have just as good a framework outside the European Union—well, this is the framework, and there is no reason why they should refuse it.

      nice quote

    8. I found the presence of EU law, particularly on bathing waters and water quality, extremely helpful. It was not always easy to convince my colleagues that we really did have less good drinking water than much of the rest of the European Union. They rather took my mother’s view, which was that the reason that people had bottled water in France was because their ordinary water was unacceptable. There was a general view, much promoted in the Daily Telegraph, that there was no need for improvement. I have to say that there was need. There was even more need, as Surfers Against Sewage made clear, to do something about our appalling bathing water standards. We were, after all, in much of the country pouring unreformed ordure—I do try very hard to use phrases that the Committee will not object to—into the sea. We were able to change that, not, I may say, without very considerable difficulty and arguments about the price and cost of doing it. It was within a context of EU law, and not just precise pieces of law but the context in which we accepted certain standards and values to which we could refer when it came to making our own legislation.

      value of EU law to conservative governments in the past

    9. on 29 March 2019 key pieces of legislation such as the environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental directives will be transposed ​into domestic law, with the aim that planning policy will continue to function as currently. However, the Bill does not directly reference some important overarching principles established in the EU treaty, potentially weakening environmental protections which underpin planning-led archaeology

      interesting lobbying move from the archeologists here...

    10. can the Minister assure the Committee that the new green watchdog will be in place on a statutory basis by exit day?
    11. There is no point in having high aspirations unless you have an effective mechanism to ensure that you deliver. As a member of the European Union, we have been subject to scrutiny and enforcement by the Commission, ultimately through infraction notices. As I pointed out at Second Reading, 46% of the judgments handed down by the European Court of Justice on UK infringements since 2003 related to the environment.The Government have accepted that after Brexit there will be a governance gap and that therefore a new green watchdog will be required to hold the Government to account on their environmental performance. The purpose of Amendments 112 and 113 is to ensure that this new green watchdog is in place by exit day and that it will mirror as closely as possible the current arrangements that we have as a member of the EU.
    12. nvironmental protection is a devolved matter. However, while the UK is a European Union member state, most environmental law in the four countries of the UK is guided by common frameworks set at EU level. This amendment would require the four Governments to work together on proposals to establish minimum common environmental objectives and standards. As such, I hope it will appeal to all parts of the House. UK-wide frameworks will be needed to establish areas of common policy across the UK, even in areas of devolved competence. Crucially, this amendment would insist that devolved legislatures are equal stakeholders in the forming of those common policy areas. I will cover the principle of UK-wide frameworks, and my major concerns about Clause 11, when we get to that point of the Bill. Today, I will focus on the substantive relevance of this issue to the environment.First, I will say a word about why common frameworks are needed. No area of policy will be more affected by the outcome of the common frameworks debate than the environment. According to analysis by the Institute for Government, there are more than 140 distinct policy areas where EU law intersects with devolved powers. The greatest number of these relate to the environment, which is unsurprising given that the EU frameworks have been widely created for environmental policy purposes.Approximately 80% of environmental laws in the UK, including in the devolved nations, have some basis in EU legislation. Transboundary co-operation and common standards are widely recognised as important for the effective protection of the environment and the prevention of unfair regulatory competition. There are persuasive reasons for seeking to maintain common standards across the four nations of these islands post Brexit. Such frameworks would provide a set of minimum common standards and should be jointly agreed between the UK and devolved Governments. They will be important in a range of areas, such as the conservation of wildlife on land and at sea, environmental assessment and the co-ordination of action to address air and water pollution.I shall give some examples of common frameworks. EU legislation relating to the natural environment—including the birds and habitats directives—currently helps to underpin effective environmental action by providing minimum common standards for site and species protection across the four nations. This facilitates the creation of a more ecologically coherent network of protected sites than would otherwise be the case. Such an approach will still be needed for the UK outside the EU, helping to ensure that actions in one jurisdiction complement, and do not counteract, conservation outcomes across these islands.Similarly, the common frameworks provided by EU legislation—relating to the assessment of the likely environmental impacts of plans, programmes and projects—mean that consistent mechanisms are in place for assessing transboundary effects as well as allowing for public participation and transparency in decision-making across the four nations. Co-operation and ​joint agreement on common frameworks that provide minimum standards and shared high-level objectives are therefore needed.

      GUK briefing

    13. I warmly endorse the comments that have already been made on the importance of getting the environmental dimensions right as we leave the European Union
    14. The purpose of this amendment is very simple: it is to ensure that recitals and preambles to EU laws are given a clear legal status by the Bill. Why is that important? The recitals and preambles explain the background to, and objectives of, legislation and are therefore essential to understanding the legislation that follows. While in UK law the purpose of any piece of legislation will be clear as a result of the process leading up to the legislation—for instance, a Green Paper, a White Paper and a parliamentary debate—with EU-derived law there is no equivalent process. Therefore, the recitals and preambles are essential for placing the legislation in context. If they are not given a clear legal status they may be forgotten or ignored by decision-makers and the courts. As has already been mentioned, although the great repeal Bill White Paper, in footnotes 17 and 24, recognised the importance of recitals and preambles, this does not provide the legal certainty that is needed.

      description of amendment

    15. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee put it unequivocally:“The EU plays a crucial role in developing policy and legislation to protect the environment and meet its objective for sustainable development. The EU has specific targets for biodiversity conservation with legislative protection for key habitats and species”.The committee makes two other points:“The EU and global biodiversity targets are partly delivered through a range of legislative measures, which place obligations on Member States to protect biodiversity and the natural environment. The EU and Member States have shared legal competence—shared responsibility—in forming and implementing legislation for the environment”.
    1. HIGHLIGHTING that discussions on the other scenarios may continue to be pursued in parallel, but thatthis Protocol is based onthe third scenario of maintaining full alignment with those rules of the Union's internal market and the customs union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all-island economy and the protection of the1998 Agreement, and that it appliesunless and until an alternative arrangement implementing another scenario is agreed;

      Unsurprisingly they went for the fallback option leaving UK to work out how one of the 'innovative' solutions might look

  2. Feb 2018
    1. n accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation, the United Kingdom shall abstain, during the transition period, from any action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the Union's interests,in particular in the framework of any international organisation, agency, conference or forum of which the United Kingdom is a party in its own right.4.Notwithstanding paragraph 3, during the transition period, the United Kingdom may not become bound by international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the areas ofexclusivecompetence of the Union, unless authorised to do so by the Union.

      Are we due to sign anything where this could apply?

    2. During the transition period, the United Kingdom shall not act as leading authority for risk assessments, examinations, approvals and authorisation procedures provided for in Union law

      what does this mean?

    3. Article 4a of Protocol (No 21) on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice shall continue to apply mutatis mutandis. The United Kingdom shall, however, not have the right to notify its wish to take part in the application of the measures pursuant to Title V of Part Three of the TFEU other than those referred to in Article 4a of Protocol No 21.

      What are the implications of this?

    4. Paragraph 1 shall apply to all existing and individually identifiable goods within the meaning of Title II of Part Three of the TFEU, with the exception of:(a)live animals and germinal products;(b)other animal productsthan those referred to in point (a), including food and feed of animal origin and animal by-products.

      so a sharper transition for animal export, feed and animal products