Non alignment with the EU = the beginning of the end for environmental protection

Nobody would say that the EU is perfect but it has been, with the UK at times being a leading player, and at other times with the UK being a laggard, a leader for environmental protection.

One has only to look at the Habitats Directive, written by a former UK MEP and Department of Environment civil servant called, don’t tell me, don’t tell me, yes, Stanley Johnson (sire of Boris), to see the type of wide-ranging even though not wholly effective measures that have been in place across all EU member states for decades. It’s an example of a bit of the turf which makes up the level playing field.

When Sajid Javid states …

There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year.

… then it shows that our government, with its large majority, is moving to a position where all EU environmental protection can be ditched because it is no longer necessary to protect our trading position with the EU.

As the Guardian article says;

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator has also warned that the UK will not get a tariff-free, quota-free trade deal with the EU unless it accepts level-playing field rules on issues such as the environment.

Now, in theory, we can adopt even better, even stronger environmental protection ourselves, but those are not the signals that are coming from government ministers. We are potentially on track for deregulation on a large scale with the excuse being that it will free up UK companies to compete on the world stage. By trashing our environment we will be able, the theory goes, to undercut other contries with higher environmental standards such as our current economic partners in the EU.

I’ve feared this all along, I’ve written about it here many times, and that’s where it appears that we are heading. It is a bad destination.


5 Replies to “Non alignment with the EU = the beginning of the end for environmental protection”

  1. I think you are right Mark to be extremely worried. What dreadful lot they are. They ( this so called Government), will let nothing get in the way of their way to make money even if that means destroying much of what we have been trying to protect since the Habitats and Birds Directives came into force in the EU. They care nothing really about our wildlife and our environment, although they may say they do.
    It’s going to be a long tough road, but the only way back as far as I can see is to elect a leader of the Labour Party who can beat the Tories, namely Sir Keir Stammer, and work towards a Labour victory at the next election, as I think Labour would reinstate the Directives

  2. I thought the Tories were supposed to be the party if economic responsibility? This is a disaster for the businesses who trade closely with the EU, such as food and manufacturing. Investment will drop, business will re-locate and we will all suffer. I have always thought Javid had little ability and no wisdom, much like the rest of the Cabinet.
    What a disaster, a race to the bottom, shameful. One of the darkest political decisions in my lifetime.

  3. The reality of becoming an American colony looms ever larger – Trump is demonsrating very clearly over Iran that he will interfere in any aspect of UK politics that suits him – and at random, no rule book, no warning.

  4. Yes, a very bad destination. But is that really where we will end up. A lot depends on whether the EU stick to their guns in the negotiations or cave in to Johnson’s demands – there’s a lot of game-playing going on at the moment. If the EU stand firm on the level playing field will Johnson really turn his back on the EU market? I hope the EU do stand firm, then we shall see. Whatever happens, Johnson will say it’s a jolly good deal! He has promised the impossible; something’s got to give.

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