We need new environmental watchdog to uphold green laws post-Brexit

September 16, 2017 5:39 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Kate ParminterToday at #LDConf we have called for the setting up of a tough new watchdog to protect the environment from threats posed by Brexit.

In a conference motion we called for the creation of an Office for Environmental Responsibility that would ensure laws on air quality or the cleanliness of beaches are properly enforced.

The Liberal Democrats have also called for full cooperation to continue with EU institutions such as the European Environment Agency.

Other proposed measures including a Nature Act with legally binding targets for clean air, water and biodiversity, and a requirement for ministers to report annually to Parliament on the state of the UK's environment.

If we want a better future for our children, we have to respect the value and constraints of our natural environment.

But this future is increasingly under threat from a government which does not prioritise the environment and refuses to acknowledge the benefits of close cooperation with our European neighbours, with whom we share many of our natural resources.

In a post-Brexit world it is crucial we have environmental protections that are at least as strong as current EU ones, if not stronger.

A new Office for Environmental Responsibility would play a crucial role in ensuring high standards are upheld on everything from beach cleanliness to air quality.

The Government should set this body up now, to ensure it is ready in time for the Brexit deadline.

With so much else to do before that point, we must fight to ensure the environment does not drop down the list of priorities.