The subject has concerned environmental charities enough for them to establish a coalition of 30 and a pledge for MPs to sign up to to prove their commitment to retaining such protections through the so called Great Repeal Bill, which is when EU law becomes domestic law.
Over 200 MPs have signed this pledge. When I asked Hugo Swire to sign the pledge he refused and wrote this disappointing blog post in response:
The Great Repeal Bill (coming very soon) gives an option for the government to strip out or amend any laws they don’t like look of.
Very concerned at some of the messages seeping out from senior Conservative ministers on this subject I lodged a motion at the April Devon County Council, as East Devon has some of the most spectacular and precious landscapes and wildlife currently protected under EU legislation and those protections absolutely must be retained.
My motion, which was supported by every DCC councillor bar one, can be found here – https://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/devon_county_council_signs_up_to_my_motion_on_protecting_devons_nature_afte
But when I checked up on the response from ministers to my motion I was deeply disappointed.
It contains absolutely no commitment whatsoever on retaining vital environmental protections nor does it even hint at it.
It rather takes the wind out of Hugo Swire’s claims on his blog post!
Ministers need to be urgently pursued on this and Hugo Swire is the route to do it.
I think we need to maintain a healthy scepticism here and if you are reading this blog PLEASE email Hugo Swire and ask him to work HARD and urgently on this issue.
He needs urgent meetings with his ministerial colleagues and he needs to make it clear PUBLICLY where he stands on any such vote. Residents should reasonably require him to speak against and vote against ANY attempt to water down or scrap this legislation.
Mr Swire needs to stop labelling any concerned voices as scaremongerers and actually take some action.
Here is my question scheduled for the full council meeting on Thursday 25 July – and the response from government to my motion that was backed by full council in April:
“Is the leader content with the reply from Kevin Woodhouse of DEFRA, dated 5 June, to my notice of motion approved almost unanimously by this council on 27 April, which called on government ministers to retain the same environmental protections as we leave the EU, as currently exist under EU legislation.
“The reply from Mr Woodhouse states: “The environment is a natural asset that provides us with numerous benefits such as clear water, clean air, food and timber, flood protection and recreation.
““Regarding future policy, until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all right and obligations of EU membership remain in force.””
Here is more information about the so-called Great Repeal Bill – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39266723
If you care about this, fight for it. Please. Before it is lost forever.
Pic: A Dartmoor river. Another Devon landscape highly protected under EU law.