UK has one chance to get post-Brexit, post-Covid-19 regulation right

The Managing Director of the Environment Agency (EA), Sir James Bevan, gave a rousing speech at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry asking policymakers to embed key EU environmental legislation into British law and certain rules to promote it before Brexit environmental protection to exacerbate growth.

Bevan became managing director of the environmental agency in 2015

Bevan became managing director of the environmental agency in 2015

“To ensure an environmentally friendly recovery, we have to move with a level of energy and speed that we haven't used for generations. We have to build better, faster and greener and make sure that bureaucracy doesn't stop green growth, so we have to get our regulation right, ”said Bevan.

“Let me make it clear that I am against bureaucracy when we mean bureaucracy for its own sake or bad regulation. But regulation – good regulation – is essential. Good regulation protects people and the environment from damage. Good regulation creates a level playing field for companies so that well-managed companies can thrive and those who do not want to abide by the rules are prevented from undercutting them. Good regulation drives growth and innovation. "

Bevan spoke after Boris Johnson's commitment to "building, building, building" was broadly mistaken for the UK's net zero goal, despite the Prime Minister repeatedly saying to MPs and media officials that his cabinet wanted to build a "greener, more resilient" one National Economy ". Chancellor Rishi Sunak 's Summer Economic Update also found that the Treasury is paying £ 160bn for the UK recovery package Covid-19, with less than £ 5bn earmarked for initiatives to drive decarbonization and the To protect nature so far.

The UK government is also facing challenges in implementing its promised “green Brexit”. Last month, a group of MEPs, businesses, NGOs and academics warned that a lack of trust between the UK and the EU could affect efforts to improve environmental performance for both parties in the coming decades.

Bevan encourages policy makers and other leaders to work together to meet these challenges in the remainder of 2020.

In particular, he wants important aspects of the environmental law to be delivered on time. Environment Minister George Eustice previously said that the Environment Protection Agency (OEP), the UK post-Brexit environmental monitor, will be "ready and operational" by the end of December

The incorporation of certain parts of EU environmental legislation into UK law also needs to be speeded up, Bevan said, including the Bathing Water Directive. However, in some areas he believes that Britain can go further and faster than the EU and should lift or change some regulatory packages.

He quoted Eustice and said: “There is no point in leaving the EU to keep everything the same. The old model has not stopped the decline of our natural world. We must therefore challenge ourselves to think creatively, to be innovative and to consciously avoid sticking to processes and procedures simply because they are familiar. "

Bevan is particularly critical of the EU Floods Directive, arguing that Defra's flood policy statement and EA's flood strategy "set a much more modern and comprehensive approach".

His speech took place shortly after EA's unveiling of "EA2025" – a five-year plan to increase climate resilience, improve natural resources, and promote green growth by 2025. The plan builds on the net zero Target for 2030 on.

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Sarah George

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