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Prime Minister sets out vision for Brexit

Prime Minister sets out vision for Brexit

18 Jan 2017

Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May set out her Plan for Britain, including the 12 priorities that the UK government will use to negotiate Brexit.

She said that the 12 objectives “amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union” and that the government “will provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage.”

The 12 principles are:

  1. Certainty
  2. Control of our own laws
  3. Strengthen the Union
  4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland
  5. Control of immigration
  6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU
  7. Protect workers’ rights
  8. Free trade with European markets
  9. New trade agreements with other countries
  10. The best place for science and innovation
  11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism
  12. A smooth, orderly Brexit

There was no mention of the natural environment in her speech. However, her speech has implications for it. Leaving the EU in any way will mean that the Habitats and Birds Directives are no longer required to be implemented, and if the UK is to leave the single market - as the Prime Minister suggests - it will no longer be obliged to implement other EU environmental legislation such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Directives.

The Prime Minister did however say that “the same rules and laws will apply on the day after Brexit as they did before. And it will be for the British Parliament to decide on any changes to that law after full scrutiny and proper Parliamentary debate.”

This is the aim of the Great Repeal Bill, but is however contrary to what Environment Minister Andrea Leadsom said on 25 October last year to the Environmental Audit Committee when she asserted that it would be impractical to move between a quarter and a third of EU law into UK law.

CIEEM remains concerned about the potential for a slow attrition of environmental legislation through statutory instruments after Brexit, which is why we are supportive of the Environmental Audit Committee’s call for an Environmental Protection Act.

CIEEM continues to work through our Brexit Task Groups and other ongoing collaborations to help influence the best possible outcome of Brexit for the natural environment and the sector, which includes our members outside the UK, such as in Ireland where they won’t be leaving the EU.

Read the Prime Minister’s full speech.

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