Environment Protection

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Young of Old Scone Baroness Young of Old Scone Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which parts of which primary and secondary legislation pertaining to the environment (1) they, (2) the Environment Agency, and (3) Natural England, judge to be unviable to transpose into UK and devolved law through the Great Repeal Bill; and when they will publish a list of that legislation.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is aware of the desire for certainty around what exiting the EU means for our environmental policy and legislative framework. That is why the Prime Minister announced last year our plans for a Great Repeal Bill that will convert current EU law into domestic UK law. Our intention is to ensure a smooth and orderly transition via the Great Repeal Bill.

All Government departments are currently reviewing the EU laws that apply in their policy areas and how our withdrawal from the EU will affect the operation of those laws. Defra has a significant challenge in handling the return of legislative competence from the EU. Over 1100 core pieces of directly applicable EU legislation and national implementing legislation have been identified as Defra-owned. There are some policy areas where this transition may present more challenges than in other areas, for example where functions are currently delivered by EU agencies, systems or resources. However, where laws need to be fixed, the Government will ensure this is done. There are decades of EU law to consider, and we must ensure our statute book works on exit and that we provide the maximum possible stability, without pre-judging future decisions Parliament may make.

The Government will bring forward legislation in the next session that, when enacted, will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and ensure a functioning statute book on the day we leave the EU. This ‘Great Repeal Bill’ will end the authority of EU law and return power to the UK. The Bill will convert existing European Union law into domestic law, wherever practical.

The Government will bring forward a White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill in due course that provides more detail about our approach. We will ensure it is published in time to allow Parliament sufficient time to digest its contents in advance of introduction of the Great Repeal Bill in the next session.

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