Great Repeal Bill to include environmental regs

Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said: “The White Paper confirms the Prime Minister’s vision of an independent, truly global UK and an ambitious future relationship with the EU.”

While the document is light on specific measures on a number of policy areas, it does confirm that environmental measures which have been underpinned by existing EU legislation, will continue to apply once the UK has left the EU.

It states: “The Government is committed to ensuring we become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. We will use the Great Repeal Bill to bring the current framework of environmental regulation into UK and devolved law.”

The Great Repeal Bill, which was announced to Parliament in October, will return power to UK institutions but will preserve EU law “where it stands at the moment before we leave the EU”.

The government’s Brexit White Paper, published today (2 February), has confirmed plans to transpose the current framework of environmental regulation set out in EU Directives into UK law.

The document, titled ‘The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union’ was published by the Department for Exiting the European Union, and sets out the government’s ‘vision’ ahead of negotiations to exit the EU.

This will mean that existing targets and commitments set out in pieces of EU legislation such as the Waste Framework, Packaging and Packaging Waste or Landfill Directives will continue to apply at least until the government has put in place alternative legislation to pursue a different course.

Circular Economy

And, timing of the adoption of the Circular Economy package will therefore be crucial in light of the commitment. Should the Circular Economy package be adopted into formal EU law, as appears likely, before the end of the two-year withdrawal process, it would be among the provisions to be brought into UK law via the Great Repeal Bill.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has stated that it will continue to engage in negotiations over the CE package ‘in good faith’. Senior officials within the Department also told stakeholders last month that they anticipate that the UK will opt to adhere to the proposals outlined in the package after Brexit, although it remains to be seen how the UK will approach a higher recycling target.

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