Brexit divergence from EU destroying UK’s vital environmental protections

Illustration: Guardian Design Vital legal protections for the environment and human health are being destroyed in post-Brexit departures from European legislation, a detailed analysis by the Guardian reveals. The UK is falling behind the EU on almost every area of environmental regulation, as the bloc strengthens its legislation while the UK weakens it. In some cases, ministers are removing EU-derived environmental protections from the statute book entirely. Businesses and environmental groups have told the Guardian they have been left in the dark as to the extent of the regressions because there is no government body tracking the divergence between the EU and the UK. In practice, it means: Water in the UK will be dirtier than in the EU. There will be more pesticides in Britain’s soil. Companies will be allowed to produce products containing chemicals that the EU has restricted for being dangerous. At least seven big policies have been changed that have put a chasm between the EU and the UK on environmental regulation. These include: EU-derived air pollution laws that will be removed under the retained EU law bill. Dozens of chemicals banned in the EU are still available for use in the UK. Thirty-six pesticides banned in the EU have not been outlawed in the UK. The UK is falling behind on reducing carbon emissions as the EU implements carbon pricing. The EU is compensating those who are struggling to afford the costs of the green transition, while the UK is not. The EU is implementing stricter regulations on battery recycling, while the UK is not. Deforestation is being removed from the EU supply chain, while the UK’s proposed scheme is more lax and does not come in until a year later. One green MEP said the findings were “tragic” while a centre-right MEP said […]

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By Donato