Our environment and health should not be bargaining chips in Brexit poker

Publication date: 29th March 2017

Commenting on the triggering of Article 50 and ahead of the publication of the white paper on the Great Repeal Bill, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said:

“The triggering of article 50 will start a process that could change the face of Britain for generations to come. This change won’t be for the better if we lose the world-class environmental safeguards that four decades of EU membership have given us.

“Whether it’s about stopping air pollution, protecting our wildlife or banning dangerous chemicals, many of the environmental protections we all take for granted are rooted in EU law. Ministers must ensure that the process of transferring these rules over into UK law doesn’t weaken them.

“Our health and our environment deserve just as much protection as those of our European neighbours. But that won’t happen if ministers use the Great Repeal Bill to give themselves the power to change environmental legislation without a parliamentary vote. The fate of these vital safeguards should not be left hostage to the whims of the government of the day.

“And since fish, air pollution and climate change don’t form an orderly queue at national borders, we must keep cooperating with the rest of Europe on the environmental challenges that affect us all.

“As Britain takes its seat at the Brexit poker table, our environmental laws should not be bargaining chips but money safe in the bank. Without them, Theresa May’s promise of leaving a healthier environment to the next generation is doomed to fail.”