Nature can’t wait for the Brexit timetable

This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior policy officer at the RSPB, and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust. For a couple of policy wonks on the Brexit front line, perspective can be hard to come by at times. So we’ve taken a few days to digest Michael Gove’s speech at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference

Was 2017 a turning point for the UK’s environment?

As we entered 2017, the UK was on edge, with the government’s plans for Brexit unclear, and the environmental dimensions of that even more so. While much remains at risk as the year draws to a close, prospects for our environment look brighter than they did 12 months ago. Crucially, the surprise general election result in June was a significant

Civil society must have a role in scrutinising the UK’s future trade policy

This post is by former MEP Michael Hindley. He is now trade policy adviser to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).  Consideration of the UK’s trading relations post Brexit has brought trade policy issues into the spotlight, and particularly trade policy formation, as never before. Free trade is the one colour the Brexiteers have nailed to their mast. Their

Three Brexit governance gaps no one is talking about

This post is by Andy Jordan, Charlie Burns and Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the ESRC funded Brexit & Environment network. The EU has mostly exerted its influence through the medium of law and policy. For many non-experts, 29 March 2017 (when Article 50 was triggered) was the day when the risk that large parts of the UK’s environment could lose

What a ‘no deal’ Brexit could mean for the environment

Should we worry that the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal and in an atmosphere of acrimony and ill will? That was the question I recently asked Sir Ivan Rogers at his inaugural Henry Plumb Lecture for the National Farmers’ Union. His answer was not reassuring. The risk, he said, was “still quite high”. In January,

What will happen to UK chemicals policy post-Brexit?

This is an extract from a presentation given by Nigel Haigh, honorary fellow and former director of IEEP, to a recent conference ‘Post-Brexit options for UK chemicals law’, organised by Chemical Watch, techUK and CHEM Trust. A version of this piece was first posted on the Brexit & Environment blog. As a way of understanding the challenges Brexit poses in

What will Brexit mean for the UK’s trade in electricity with Europe?

This post is by Jonathan Bosch, research postgraduate at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London. The internal electricity market (IEM) is one of the major achievements of the European single market, allowing electricity to be traded and transmitted seamlessly across national borders. The UK has played a crucial role in the IEM’s development,

Who’s afraid of the ECJ? Let’s debate environmental governance

This post is by Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the Brexit and Environment network of academic experts, co-funded by the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe Initiative. Among the many proposals in Michael Gove’s thoughtful speech on the environment, one received less attention that we think it deserved.  It was his invitation to debate how the UK

Should we trust Michael Gove?

Should we trust Michael Gove? That’s the question lurking underneath all of the commentary about the environment secretary’s protestations of love for the planet. He gave a barnstormer of a speech at WWF’s Living Planet centre last week, declaring that marine plastics would be tackled, the ivory trade would be halted and eleven million trees would be planted.This expanded on

How to get the best possible outcome from Brexit on energy and climate

This post first appeared on BusinessGreen. At 11am, on 14 July 2017, eight per cent of UK’s total electricity demand was generated by offshore wind, more than any other country in the world. Proactive policy and industrial innovation have crafted the UK’s success story on offshore wind but another significant part of the story has been the lending from the European

Lobby Group Tied to Koch Brothers, Brexit Climate Deniers Pushes ‘Strong Pro-Corporate Agenda’

By Mat Hope A new lobby group has appeared in Europe claiming to represent “consumers.” But a closer look reveals it is actually backed by some familiar groups known for their efforts to weaken climate and environmental regulations. The Consumer Choice Centre was set up in March 2017 and was promoted as ” a grassroots-led movement ” that ” empowers consumers across the globe .” But an investigation by Brussels think tank

A border won’t be enough to control fish – only co-operation can

This post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation. Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On

Will the Withdrawal Bill work for the environment?

Though the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more. As it passes through parliament it will now be known as the European Union

With bold environmental ideas we can make the most of a hung parliament

This post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT. A hung parliament, with a packed legislative agenda, blank slate of policy and limited time on the Brexit countdown clock: these are good conditions for great environmental accomplishments. Without a commanding majority, the government will need to search for areas of political unity to build political capital, like

How to improve the balance between UK nature conservation and food production

This post is by Claire Feniuk, land use policy officer at the RSPB. If Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that people don’t like compromise, they really much prefer to have their cake and eat it. This week, I was invited to join a panel discussion at a Defra Evidence event hosted by the Royal Society, to give my thoughts

Five very real risks to our environment from Brexit and how to tackle them

There has been little mention of the environment in the government’s Brexit priorities so far, so it may come as a surprise to hear that an estimated four fifths of all our environmental protections are covered by EU law. As the Westminster government heads towards triggering Article 50 this week, to be closely followed by the repeal bill which will

Brexit creates an opportunity to support UK food production and restore nature

This post is by the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, second church estates commissioner and former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs. The UK agriculture sector has always sought to provide good quality food at a reasonable price, which is the very purpose of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, we cannot ignore that it

Brexit or not, Britain will still be a global pioneer on the environment

This post is by Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, and is a response to the recent post by Lord Chris Smith I very much welcome Lord (Chris) Smith’s return to the environmental fray in his recent blog. He knows better than most the politics of the environment and the delicate relationship between central

Agriculture at a crossroads… again

This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior land use policy officer at RSPB. If you do a Google search for ‘agriculture at a crossroads’ you’ll see that it’s a well used term. But when considering the implications of Brexit for farming and land use, it feels more relevant now than ever before. Leaving the European Union will be one of

How to keep up UK leadership on clean energy and climate after Brexit

This post is by Jonathan Gaventa, director of E3G. The UK has made significant progress in clean energy and emissions reductions in recent years, with greenhouse gas emissions now 38 per cent below 1990 levels. But Brexit raises questions about how this progress will be continued. In principle, it should be both possible and desirable for the UK to emerge

Why is the environment missing from the Brexit plan?

The prime minister laid out her “comprehensive and carefully considered� Brexit plan this week, pledging to bring as much certainty and clarity to each stage of the Brexit process as possible. It was perplexing, then, that the environment was not mentioned once during her 45 minute speech. Significant questions remain about the future of the UK’s environmental protections and how

It’s time for environmentalists to stop behaving like they’re in the minority

This post is by Lord Deben chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. We environmentalists must stop behaving as if we are perpetually in a minority. When the revolution has actually occurred we can’t go on as if the ancien regime hasn’t fallen. We have grown used to our role of opposing, cajoling, and shaming, but we seem much more uncomfortable

California dreaming? Environmental lessons for Brexit Britain from the ‘left coast’

John Steinbeck described the California I grew up in as ‘a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.’ The golden state has always loomed large in the imagination but, in my early years, much of the stink and quality of light was literal: my dad