Fri 19 Jun, 2020

The Scottish Greens welcome any move to protect Scotland’s environment against a reckless deregulated Brexit, but clearly this bill doesn’t yet provide the same strong environmental safeguards which the EU has provided Patrick Harvie

The Scottish Government’s new continuity bill must be strengthened if it is to protect Scotland’s environment, food standards and wildlife from the Conservative party’s reckless deregulated Brexit, the Scottish Greens have said.

At Parliament’s constitution committee, Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell said the intention of the bill was to have “no gap” between Scottish and European standards.

Responding, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said:

“The Scottish Greens welcome any move to protect Scotland’s environment against a reckless deregulated Brexit, but clearly this bill doesn’t yet provide the same strong environmental safeguards which the EU has provided.

“If it is going to do that and meet the policy intention, this bill needs to be much stronger. For example, it currently will not place a requirement on ministers to keep pace with EU protections.

 “We’ve already seen how the Tories appear to have abandoned their promise to stop cheap chlorinated chicken being imported from America. The need for strong commitments to protect standards is urgently needed.

“It isn’t clear how the new public body will sit alongside SEPA and Scottish Natural Heritage, but I am concerned about its independence, given it will be led by a government appointee. The proposals for Environmental Standards Scotland seem too narrow to be an effective safeguard, but it will at least need to be independent and well-funded to be a working regulator.

“EU law also covers the enforcement of protection of many of our species of wildlife, so the new laws will need to maintain these standards or there is a real risk it will undermine recent work on this.”

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