Michael Gove lays out vision for post-Brexit environment watchdog

Posted On: 
12th November 2017

The Government is drawing up plans for a new environment watchdog to shore up wildlife and pollution protections after Brexit, Michael Gove has declared.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he wanted a "green Brexit"
PA Images

The new independent body would “hold the powerful to account” and wield its authority with “real bite” to deliver a "green Brexit," the Environment Secretary insisted.

But he failed to explain what punishments it will be capable of slapping on those who flout the law as he laid out his vision in an article for the Sunday Telegraph.

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His announcement comes amid fears environmental protections enshrined in EU law could be lost after Brexit.

Mr Gove insisted the UK "must not only maintain but enhance environmental standards as we leave the EU".

“That means making sure we secure the environmental gains we have made while in the EU even as we use our new independence to aim even higher,” he explained.

He said writing EU environmental law into the UK statute book would not go far enough because some of the mechanisms ensuring that law is kept will be lost – leaving a “governance gap”.

He announced: “We will consult on using the new freedoms we have to establish a new, world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account.

“It will be independent of government, able to speak its mind freely. And it will be placed on a statutory footing, ensuring it has clear authority.”

And Mr Gove concluded: "Nothing can be more vital than the future of our environment and the natural world.

"We are their custodians and we must safeguard their future if our ambition for a Green Brexit is to become a reality.

"We have the chance to set the gold standard for environmental science and become a home to centres of environmental excellence.

"A new independent, statutory body and a strong statement of principles will ensure that outside the EU, we become the world-leading curator of the most precious asset of all: our planet."

Elsewhere, the Mail on Sunday reports that Philip Hammond could hike taxes for diesel drivers but cut those for petrol in the upcoming Budget.