The EU Commission has enforcement powers they can use if Member States do not fulfil their climate change obligations as set out in EU law. If these enforcement powers are not recreated in the UK post-Brexit, it will represent a weakening of the UK’s climate regime, thereby contravening the UK’s commitment to non-regression on environmental policy as set out in the UK Brexit White Paper.
In May 2018 Defra launched a consultation on a new ‘environmental watchdog’ to “hold government to account on our environmental ambitions and obligations”. The Government initially proposed not to include any role for the watchdog to oversee climate policy. However, having received pushback that is was unjustifiable to enforce environment but not climate law, it is now reconsidering its position.
At a high level, when considering what climate policies the Green Watchdog should cover, the Government should follow the principle that the UK’s climate regime should not be weakened as a result of Brexit. But what does this mean in practice?
Read the briefing, Climate enforecement: the inclusion of climate policy under the proposed UK green watchdog, to find out more.