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.https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jan/18/savid-javid-warns-there-will-be-no-alignment-on-eu-regulations-after-brexit
… 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.https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jan/18/savid-javid-warns-there-will-be-no-alignment-on-eu-regulations-after-brexit
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.[registration_form]