Topics

#ARBatwork #PledgeLessPlastic & 1987 storm 2018 3ATC 50th annual AA accreditation advice AFL AGM Agrilus Biguttatus aid air quality Alert Alex Kirkley amenity Amenity Conference Ancient Tree Forum Annual Awards APPGHG apprentice apprenticeship Apprenticeships Approved Contractors ARB ARB Approved Contractor ARB Approved Contractors ARB at work ARB Magazine ARB Show Arboricultural Association Arboriculture arborists Arbsafe ash dieback Assessments atf Australia award Awards Barcham Trees Bartlett Tree Experts bats beetle beyond ism biodiversity biosecurity Branches Brexit bs5837 business Call for papers Canker stain of plane carbon CCS Cellular Confinement Systems CEnv Ceratocystis Ceratocystis platani chainsaw chalara Charles charter Charter for Trees chelsea Chelsea Flower Show Claus Mattheck climate climber climbing Colleges committees competiton conference Confor conifers conservation Consultant consultation Coroner Council Countryside Stewardship cross industry news Cryphonectria parasitica Cumbria DART Date for your diary death defra Design Devon disease document dothistroma EAC East Anglia ecology economy Ecotricity education Electricity England EPF Europe European Arboricultural Council European Wood Pastures exeter Exhibitors Fatality Fera flood flooding Forest Research forestry Forestry Commission forests FSC Fund4Trees funding fundraiser gardening GDPR Geocells Gov.uk government Green Brexit guidance guides Health Helliwell Help Henry Kuppen Horse Chestnut horticulture HRH HRH Prince Charles HS2 HSE ICF InfraGreen International Urban Forestry Congress Investigating Tree Archaeology Conference Irma ISA iso i-Tree IUFC Kew land-based Landscape Institute Landscape Show landscaping Lantra law Leaf Minor Lectures London LTOA Melbourne Member Benefit mentor Midlands NASA National Geographic National Tree Week News nominations Northern notification NTIS NTOA NTOC oak Oak Processionary Moth Oak-boring Beetle obituary Observatree opm Padua parks parliament Perennial Pests and Diseases petition Phytophthora planning Planning Law planting Plumpton College policy poll Power Prince Charles Prince of Wales Protect and Survive protection Quotatis ramorum Registered Registered Consultant Registered Consultants Report Rescue research Resilience response review RFS rhs Rodney Helliwell rogue tree surgeons RSFS Safety Safety Bulletin Saftey Scotland Scottish Branch SDG Accord security seminars Share Sheffield Show Site Guidance skills SocEnv soils South East staff statement statutory STIHL strategy student Student Conference survey Sustainable Soils Alliance Sweet Chestnut sweet chestnut blight TDAG Technical Officers tender Thames & Chiltern The Arboricultural Association The Woodland Trust Thinking Arbs Day Tools TPO Trading Standards trailblazer training transport Tree Tree Champion Tree Council Tree Health Tree Inspection tree loss tree management Tree of the year Tree Officer tree species Tree Surgeons Tree Week tree-felling TreeRadar trees Trees, People and the Built Environment trust' trustee TrustMark UAG Uitlity UK favourite ukas UKWAS urban forest Urban Tree Cover urban trees VETcert veteran trees video Videos volunteer VTA Wales website Western Westonbirt women in arboriculture woodland woodland trust woods World Environment Day young arborists

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

Share this story

Time Running Out to Effectively Transpose EU Environmental Acquis into UK Law

  20/11/2017
Last Updated:  20/11/2017

The Society for the Environment, alongside six other professional bodies within the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF), warn that time is running out to effectively transpose EU environmental acquis into UK law.

The EPF is a network of UK environmental professional bodies and learned societies promoting environmental sustainability and resilience for the public benefit. The EPF’s member bodies have a collective membership of around 70,000 environmental professionals, many of whom are individually chartered in environmental practice, science and engineering disciplines.

Following our recent letters and briefings to Ministers and MPs regarding our concerns about the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, we welcome those amendments that align with our concerns relating to environmental governance when we leave the EU. We recognise that the Government needs to ensure the EU (Withdrawal) Bill meets the overall purpose of enabling full transposition of EU law into UK law in a timely manner. However, we remain deeply concerned by the apparent lack of parliamentary scrutiny and the lack of time remaining for the development of the secondary legislation required for a working statute book on exit day. It is essential that sufficient time and resource is made available for parliamentary committees to review and decide upon the appropriate level of scrutiny necessary for each statutory instrument.

A number of recent developments, whilst generally welcome, compound our concerns over the lack of time remaining to effectively transpose the EU environmental acquis into UK law.

1. A proposed Environmental ‘Commission’

On 1st November 2017, the Environment Secretary, giving evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, suggested establishing a new “commission-like body” to hold government and other public bodies to account on all matters of environmental law. The EPF welcomes this suggestion, which exactly aligns to our call for a new independent body for environmental governance and enforcement, submitted to the Secretary on 4th September. We also welcome the Secretary’s commitment to a consultation process on the matter, during which we will actively consult with our respective memberships to inform our response. Given the time constraints, the EPF is asking government to consult on the new body and to agree its formation before exit day. We support the Secretary’s every effort to actually establish the new body before exit day or as soon as possible thereafter.

2. The powers of DEFRA’s NDPBs

In the same evidence session, the Environment Secretary suggested that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ family of non-departmental public bodies could gain responsibilities that have been, until Brexit, the function of European agencies. We believe that, where powers which currently reside with European agencies are conferred on an existing body, or a new body is established, this should be done through the affirmative parliamentary scrutiny procedure with prior public consultation.

3. Exit day

On 9th November 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Bill will be amended to state an exit date of 29th March 2019. However, there was no further clarification regarding the ‘Henry VIII powers’ through which Ministers may, without any parliamentary consultation, set different exit dates for different matters, merely that the date would be added “on the front page”. We are disappointed by this missed opportunity to assuage concerns of excessive Ministerial powers and we urge that the opportunity for rectification is taken now. As the Bill is currently drafted, Ministers would retain the power to set other exit dates until the ‘headline’ exit date has passed, which is significant to the related expiration of extended powers (two years from the exit date). The EPF calls for further consideration and clarity here, while we support recommendations that the statutory instruments used to set exit date(s) are subject to the affirmative procedure.

The EPF stands ready to advise or otherwise assist in consultation processes. The Environment Secretary stated in a letter dated 29th September 2017 to the Chair of the EFRA Committee that his department is "considering how best to engage and consult with stakeholders on our secondary legislative programme by setting up a consultation group to provide external advice and challenge on our proposed methodology." The EPF’s collective expertise is ideally placed to contribute to this consultation group.

For any enquiries, please contact Dr Tatum Matharu, Policy and Parliamentary Lead at the Society for the Environment.