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Environment must not be compromised by Brexit, say NGOs

Some of the UK’s largest conservation groups have joined forces to urge the government to restore and enhance the environment as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

The National Trust, RSPB and WWF are among 13 organisations to throw their weight behind the ‘Manifesto for a Greener UK’, which calls on the government to secure the benefits of existing environmental laws as Britain exits the EU, and create an ambitious new Environment Act, which restores nature and natural resources.

Greener UK was launched in December 2016 as a coalition of NGOs with a combined public membership of 7.9m people. Other members include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Woodland Trust.

Among the group’s asks is for the government to lead the world by setting measurable milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency, as part of a strong 25 year plan, reinforced in law in an ambitious new Environment Act.

Other priorities include the creation of sustainable farming and land use policies; the setting of world leading animal welfare and environmental standards; and the introduction of new domestic laws that make the UK a world leader in innovative and sustainable fisheries management.

“Research shows that following the Brexit vote 83% of people believed that Britain should pass laws providing a higher or similar level of protection for nature than current EU laws,” said Trevor Hutchings, director of advocacy at WWF. “This is about more than just maintaining environmental standards, it is about improving them so that our economic and social wellbeing is enhanced too.”