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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:47 pm on 12th March 2020.

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John Bynorth:

I am John Bynorth, policy communications officer at Environmental Protection Scotland. Certainly, devolution is one of the main challenges facing the UK legislation that is coming in. It is important to ensure that standards are common between the different countries. There is no point having one set of standards in England and not having the same standards in Scotland. Ministers and civil servants in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Northern Ireland should talk to each other to ensure consistency, so we do not end up with two different types of air quality policy, for example, which could be quite damaging, and just in general, as Lloyd said, in respect of environmental standards.

The SNP Government launched their environmental strategy for Scotland last month. They have made it very clear that they will retain or even try to exceed the EU standards that we have just left behind by leaving Brussels. They have been a lot clearer on that. We do not see so much of that in the UK Environment Bill. Those are important distinctions. On the clampdown on domestic burning—the sale of solid wood fuels and wet wood—you cannot have two different policies in England and Scotland, for example, because somebody would just sell something across the border that was illegal in England. We need to have a look at things like that and to ensure that people are talking to each other and that the links we have are maintained.