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Environment Secretary plans environmental watchdog

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Defra secretary Michael Gove has said he wants to set up a new watchdog for environmental protection after Brexit.

The announcement, which was made on television and elaborated in an opinion piece on Monday by Mr Gove, has surprised many, particularly as his appointment was criticised by environmental campaigners who worried he would scrap many environmental protections.

Saying that the Common Agricultural Policy had ‘damaged our countryside’ he warned that transferring all existing European law, including environmental protections, into UK law ‘was not enough.’

“Without further action, there will be a governance gap. The environment won’t be protected as it should be from the unscrupulous, unprincipled or careless,” he said. “So we will consult on using the new freedoms we have to establish a new, world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account. It will be independent of government, able to speak its mind freely.

“And it will be placed on a statutory footing, ensuring it has clear authority. Its ambition will be to champion and uphold environmental standards, always rooted in rigorous scientific evidence.”

He added that the consultation would be published in early 2018.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Michael Gove – UK Parliament official portraits 2017

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