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News > United Kingdom

Scotland's Environmental Rights at Risk if Brexit Passes

  • UK environmental groups want legislation to match the strict standards of the EU in case of Brexit.

    UK environmental groups want legislation to match the strict standards of the EU in case of Brexit. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 June 2019

Scottish activists' proposals to table new legislation to provide the same rights enjoyed in the country under the European Union have been denied.

Scotland is set to lose anti-pollution and environmental protection laws if Brexit is approved, activists say.

Johnson To Support Hard Brexit  Without Another Option

Despite numerous requests and meetings with Scottish ministers, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland says new legislation to provide the same rights enjoyed in the country provided within the European Union has not been created.

Consequently, conservation groups like the WWF will have a difficult time maintaining the region’s air quality standards and humane treatment of wildlife.

In an open letter to the Scottish parliament member and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, 16 animal and environmental rights groups urged​​​ the legislator to create policy that prrotects the climate, flora and fauna.

“Nicola Sturgeon has acknowledged that our planet faces a climate emergency. Inextricably linked to this is growing ecological crisis," read the letter. The lawmaker recently spoke at the World Forum for Climate Justice at Glasgow Caledonia University on climate justice, insisting that the "riches countries" pay for their part in climate change globally.

The organizations are proposing a measure to create an oversight body that can police government and public agencies, and, importantly, enforce environmental laws to at least the same standard as the EU’s. They want environmental laws in Scotland to be strict as those that govern the EU. 

Currently, any EU citizen can file a case against EU entities in alleged violation of environmental law, which a special commission can investigate and try.

“We must not let Brexit derail us from tackling these huge global challenges head on. Whatever the outcome of the current political uncertainties we need robust, binding, targets for the recovery of Scotland’s natural environment, to safeguard both nature and people,” the organizations say.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the current administration is committed to either matching or exceeding the EU’s environmental laws, but failed to divulge details or confirm any legislation in the works.

As it stands, with or without a deal, the United Kingdom is set to separate from the EU Oct. 31. 

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