FMQs: SNP asked to explain environmental court snub

The government’s green credentials were called into question again today when the First Minister was asked to reconsider her government’s position against creating a specialist environmental court, or tribunal, when the UK leaves the European Union.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Green MSP John Finnie explained that a replacement court or tribunal would go a long way to patching a regulatory framework about to be torn apart by Brexit. The decision has been described as a ‘missed opportunity’ by Friends of the Earth, Scotland.

Highlands and Islands MSP, John Finnie said:

“Last week, the Scottish Government announced that it will not establish an environmental court or tribunal. When we leave the European Union we will lose the oversight of the European Court of Justice, a court that has played a key role monitoring and enforcing environmental obligations.

“The legal system of the UK does not allow us to fully replace the ECJ, yet an environmental court here in Scotland would go a long way to patching the regulatory framework about to be torn apart by Brexit, particularly in providing for legal expertise on environmental issues.

“Scotland must establish a new Environmental Court to replace the functions currently fulfilled by the European Court of Justice, along with a new Environment Commissioner with powers to hold the government to account on its environmental commitments. It’s puzzling why the First Minister does not agree.”