IEMA launches post-Brexit environmental principles

3rd October 2017


IEMA has today published its guiding principles for protecting and enhancing the UK’s environment after leaving the EU.

Brexit and Beyond outlines the importance of incorporating EU environmental protections into UK statute books, and the best way to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

In addition, the touchstone document calls for a “progressive approach to improvement” post-Brexit, achieving better environmental outcomes in a way that minimises bureaucracy and administration.

“Through many decades of domestic legislation based on the EU regulatory framework, we’re no longer known as the dirty man of Europe,” IEMA Brexit Working Group chair, professor Paul Leinster, said.

“The progress achieved must be sustained as we leave the EU, and business must have certainty on the rules that will apply in this area.

“We believe IEMA’s principles should guide the UK’s transposition of EU environmental law, and set a framework for ongoing environmental policy development.”

The principles were developed in conjunction with senior business, environmental and sustainability leaders, and consist of three overarching goals:

  1. Aim for high level of environmental protection and improvement
  2. Ensure full implementation of international environmental agreements that the UK and EU have signed up to
  3. Ensure that sound science underpins the evidence base upon which decisions about the environment are made.

The paper calls for a systematic improvement to environmental law after Brexit, with an integrated approach to policy delivery that is consistent and provides the certainty needed to unlock business investment.

This should include enforceable regulation that clearly identifies environmental goals and measures of success, while permits, taxes, subsidies and market instruments should be utilised to effect positive change.

In addition, the paper sets out key governance considerations on transparency, scrutiny and accountability, outlining the importance of key principles including the precautionary principle, proximity principle and polluter pays principle.

IEMA chief policy advisor, Martin Baxter, argues this sets out a framework that has global relevance beyond the immediate concerns around withdrawing from the EU.

“This document is a real touchstone which will guide the urgent transposition of the environment acquis, but the principles have far wider policy relevance,” he said.

“We’ve sought input from environment and sustainability professionals from around the globe who say the central themes around protecting and enhancing the environment are of paramount importance.”

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