No watering down of environmental protection: Gove

19th June 2017

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  • Agriculture ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Natural resources


John Laxton

New environment secretary Michael Gove has insisted that he will not dilute environmental legislation after the UK leaves the EU.

In an interview with Radio 4’s Farming Today programme, Gove said: ‘I absolutely don’t want to water down [environmental protection].

‘We need to make sure that the policies that we have in place to enhance the environment are focused in the right way. It may well be that we change the operation of particular rules, but any change will be designed to ensure that we get better protection for the environment,’ he said.

He also said that future trade deals would ‘maintain and enhance’ environmental protection and animal welfare standards. ‘We have a strong position and good track record on both of these areas and I don’t for a moment want to see either of those diluted or eroded,’ he said.

Gove said he intended to spend the summer talking to farmers and environmental experts about biodiversity and climate change, adding that he had already met with the RSPB.

The conservation charity confirmed that Gove visited Rainham Marshes in east London last week. In a blog about the meeting, the RSPB’s global conservation director Martin Harper wrote: ‘While Mr Gove is still only in the fourth day of his new job, he is clearly keen to get out, meet people and see places. He also asked the right questions, took notes and listened.

‘These are good signs. We need political leaders to be inquisitive about what is working well and what needs fixing. Then, we hope, they work out how to intervene to make things better.’

Meanwhile, the government announced that Parliament will sit for two years instead of one to give MPs enough time to fully consider the laws required for Brexit, including the Great Repeal Bill.


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