After coming to a final Brexit agreement with her cabinet, Theresa May announced on the 14th November that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement had been finalised.
The withdrawal is unlikely to affect the UK’s commitment to maintaining high importance on environmental targets, such as the current EU climate goals and green policies.
The deal has been heavily criticised by both Remain and Leave campaigners. Remainers have expressed views that the deal highlights the influence the UK is giving up, whereas, Leavers believe there will still be a dominant EU influence in the deal, disallowing them to get rid of various environmental regulations and EU legislation post-Brexit.
Although a significant improvement on a ‘no deal’ Brexit, there are still strong fears about the UK’s ability to enforce high environmental standards post-Brexit and the ability to work with the EU to accelerate green investment, in addition to ensuring a positive EU-UK trade deal.
Included in the Brexit deal is a section on “non-regression in the level of environmental protection” which outlines specific commitments ensuring that the UK and EU’s environmental and climate policies remain broadly aligned on a number of issues. Within this section it states the UK and EU “shall ensure that the level of environmental protection provided by law, regulations and practices is not reduced below the level provided by the common standards applicable within the Union and the United Kingdom at the end of the transition period.”
Overall, the positives that can be taken from Theresa May’s Brexit deal are that it commits the UK to respecting EU environmental principles, such as the precautionary and polluter pays principles, the carbon pricing regime and the support of multilateral environmental treaties, such as the Paris Agreement. However, the negatives are the raised possibilities of political and legal challenges if Brexit rules are breached.
Source: Brexit: Government seeks to firm up environmental protections, as deal hangs in the balance – Business Green