South East environment faces ‘cocktail of risks’ from Brexit, warns Green MEP

A new report by the Brighton MP, Caroline Lucas, has revealed a ‘cocktail of risks’ to the UK’s environment from Brexit. The report highlights how the EU has been a driver of environmental action, and that Britain is now entering a period of ‘profound uncertainty’ which could lead to the downgrading of many key protections.

The report says that Brexit could mean key environmental rules become ‘unenforceable’ and threatens to end funding for agri-environmental schemes through the loss of Common Agriculture Policy and LIFE+ funding. A new trade deal with the US could also mean the UK being forced to accept GM crops and lower food and animal welfare standards such as chlorinated chickens and hormone beef.

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s Animals spokesperson, said:

“With the environment being a mere afterthought for this government, Brexit threatens to cut Britain off from the crucial environmental safeguards that the EU provides. Caroline Lucas’ new report shows the cocktail of threats we face in the South East post-Brexit and the huge risk that our environmental and animal welfare protections will be weakened and downgraded as part of the post-referendum process. Key laws could become unenforceable, spending on crucial schemes could be cut and new trade deals could undermine existing regulations.”

As well at detailing the impacts of Brexit on the environment, the report calls for a ‘Green Guarantee’ to ensure that current levels of environmental protection and funding are maintained and strengthened. It also called for a new ‘Environment Act’ to be put in place ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU and for Britain to retain membership of key European agencies. Keith Taylor said:

“Nobody voted to trash our precious South East environment, landscapes or farming industry, whichever way they voted in the EU referendum. We need to ensure the environment is a key priority for the government and we must continue to hold them to account over their promise to become “the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it”. We need to start work immediately on introducing an Environment Act to make sure crucial environmental protections are made legally binding and enforceable.”