It is important that leaving the European Union does not lead to the watering down of the existing environmental standards that protect our wildlife and agriculture. The Conservative Government has announced a Repeal Bill that will be brought in to replace European Law. Conservative Ministers claim that this will transfer the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law.
While I welcome this commitment, I believe that the Conservative’s Repeal Bill would contain sweeping powers for the Executive and with no enhanced safeguards. I am concerned it will not go far enough to ensure UK environmental standards keep pace with the European Union after we leave.
The Labour manifesto that I stood on at the general election pledged to introduce an EU Rights and Protections Bill to ensure there is no detrimental change to environmental protections when the UK leaves the EU. We must ensure that that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit to our environment are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. Indeed, there is also an opportunity for more progressive and ambitious domestic policies which go beyond European Union standards.
As we leave the European Union, Agriculture regulations will need to adapt in order to preserve the rules for farmers. The Conservative Government has outlined proposals for a new Agriculture Bill which is intended to provide stability to farmers as we leave the European Union. The Conservative Ministers in charge of producing this Bill are yet to produce any draft guidance or support for farmers.
I can assure you that I will hold the Conservative Government to account on this to ensure that farms and wildlife in Worsley and Eccles South are protected throughout the process.