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2nd Day

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:25 pm on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Zac Goldsmith Zac Goldsmith Conservative, Richmond Park 4:25 pm, 11th September 2017

I will not, because I am running out of time.

First, when a state fails to implement EU law today, there are penalties, but that will no longer be the case—for obvious and appropriate reasons. However, an alternative system does need to be introduced. If the present or a future Government fail, for example, to stay within air pollution limits, it must be possible for sanctions to be applied and for that Government to be held to account—that is a core ingredient in any healthy democracy.

Secondly, it is not clear that important principles, such as the “polluter pays” principle or the precautionary principle, will be fully and meaningfully absorbed into UK law. If the individual regulations are to have meaning, those principles must be embedded in UK law. Finally, the Bill enables the Government to transfer regulatory functions from the EU to domestic bodies, but it does not make that obligatory, which seems to me to be an obvious weakness. I hope that the Minister will respond to my concerns, as well as the other issues that are raised today, and provide reassurances that they will be addressed either during the Bill’s later stages, or in subsequent environmental legislation.