Uphold environmental regulations for the common good

Fidra works alongside industry and government as well as other NGOs and community groups to catalyse positive change for the environment. It is Fidra’s view that the public want food that is safe and free from contamination of harmful chemicals, clean air, safe water to drink and swim in and to protect and regenerate wildlife and ecosystems. We urge the UK government to uphold the critical environmental protections that are enshrined in legislation developed by experts over many decades.

Respect for Regulations

Regulations are vital for businesses (who rely on certainty for investment and innovation across supply chains), people and the environment. They are a crucial instrument in implementing effective policy. Regulations ensure a level playing field and are indispensable for the proper functioning of all economies and societies. Dismantling regulations and laws without respect to their function is deeply concerning for all stakeholders.

Revoke, Reform, Repeal?

Two weeks ago, the newly formed UK government set out the bill which enables Ministers to strip the UK’s statute book of any law that has emanated from the EU. It is a decision that does not appear to be based upon a desire to make good law. There is as yet no clear action plan attached to the decision to implement the sunset clause on all retained EU law by 31 December 2023.

Unrealistic & Unnecessary distraction from tackling environmental crises

For the Environmental sector 570 pieces of law would be affected and 470 would need to be actioned. The UK is already falling behind in implementing new laws to protect people and the environment compared to the EU. For example, the EU has a pipeline of chemicals they are considering restrictions on, to protect people and the environment, so far 20 chemicals are on the EU’s lists where as the UK only has 5 ‘priority substances’ and no firm commitments to restrict even these few, leaving the UK population and environment open to exposure. DEFRA is already suffering from capacity issues and with more government efficiencies (cuts) likely it is hard to understand how each individual law and its intricacies could be reviewed and agreed by the end of next year. That is more than one law per working day.

The flagship Environmental Land Management programme was also announced for review, prompting concern that the growth plan does not recognise that food security and nature are deeply entwined. It is clear that we cannot achieve food security or growth without protecting nature. Equally we cannot meet net zero and the challenge of the climate emergency if we don’t harness nature positive solutions.

Unprecedented Response Urging a Rethink

The announcements set out in the mini budget and proposed retained EU Law Bill have led to an unprecedented response from tens of thousands of people and organisations who view this as an #AttackOnNature . Deregulation appears to be an unpopular move with the UK public. The Scottish Government has also raised its concerns in a direct letter to the UK Environment and Biodiversity Ministers urging them to drop the proposals. With biodiversity declining, temps rising & pollution passing planetary limits, now’s time to strengthen protections not undermine them. Given time is running out for nature & governments’ limited capacity we don’t need to ‘revoke’ & ‘reform’ environment laws; let’s build on them.