Protecting our natural environment. Continue to be a leader in Europe and in the world on environmental protection and climate change by committing to preserve the protections to which we are currently committed as a member of the EU.
The greatest legacy we can bequeath to future generations is not only a clean, green earth but also national recognition that a strong economy and society are dependent on environmental sustainability.
Protecting the natural environment and fighting climate change are not issues that any country can tackle alone. European leadership has shown that joint action helps to protect our most valuable assets.
Many Leave campaigners realised the significance of these issues and argued that leaving the EU would produce “better outcomes for our environment”. With prominent climate change sceptics amongst those who campaigned for leave, however, we want strong reassurances that the green agenda will now not be downgraded.
Matching European protections
The UK should continue to be a leader in Europe and in the world on environmental protection by committing to preserving the protections to which we are currently committed as a member of the EU, which should continue to be applied in UK law. Key environmental targets and directives, whether over renewable energies, our natural habitat, clean air and water, climate change, including the recent Paris Agreement, must be retained.
The UK’s world-leading climate and environment experts should be consulted on how these measures could be strengthened, so they act as a baseline from which to build.
Retaining influence over regulations
The UK must seek to retain influence over environmental regulations set at EU level. Few want to see a race to the bottom with companies jettisoning high environmental standards. Equally, we do not want to hand control to European partners to set regulations that we would be compelled to adopt since this would hand their industries a competitive advantage. It makes sense, therefore, to seek continued collaborative decision-making wherever we can.
Supporting farming & fishing
The process of leaving the EU will necessitate an in-depth assessment of agricultural and fisheries policy and could present a chance to reshape them for the future. It would be a mistake not to view this as an opportunity for environmental reform. Agricultural policy could be used to boost biodiversity, wildlife habitats and waterways, while also continuing to ensure that UK farming continues to get the support it needs. Fisheries policy could be used to promote more sustainable fishing.