Repeal bill will retain existing EU law

6th October 2016


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  • England ,
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  • Scotland

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IEMA

The repeal bill announced by prime minister Theresa May at the Conservative party conference this week will mean that existing environmental laws will be retained when the UK leaves the EU.

EU law currently prevails over UK law under the 1972 European Communities Act. The planned repeal bill would end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK and convert existing EU legislation into domestic law. Parliament would then be able to amend, repeal or improve legislation. The bill would also allow ministers to make changes through secondary legislation.

In his speech to the conference, secretary of state for exiting the EU David Davis said: ‘It’s very simple. At the moment we leave, Britain must be back in control. And that means EU law must cease to apply.

‘To ensure continuity, we will take a simple approach. EU law will be transposed into domestic law, wherever practical, on exit day,’ he said.

It will then by up to elected politicians to make changes to reflect the outcome of our negotiation and exit, he added.

The repeal bill will be announced in next year’s Queen’s speech, while the UK would begin formal negotiations on leaving the EU in March, May said.

Meanwhile, environment secretary Andrea Leadsom told the conference that the 25-year plan for the environment would reflect the UK’s decision to leave the EU. ‘I’m truly excited that our departure from the EU means we can develop policies that are tailored to our most precious habitats and wildlife – not a one-size-fits-all approach for 28 member states.

‘It’s this opportunity we’ll be seizing as we work on our ambitious 25-year plan for the environment, using nature’s own building blocks of water catchments and landscapes to benefit our plants and animals.’

She also said plans would be unveiled ‘in the coming weeks’ to ban microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries.

Energy secretary Greg Clark’s speech gave little insight into new policy on energy or climate change. He said: ‘Our global leadership in combatting climate change now presents us with a massive opportunity to enjoy industrial success as we put clean energy at the heart of our industrial future.’

The UK needs an upgrade in the resilience and the cleanliness of its energy supplies, he added.

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