A lack of trust risks hampering UK-EU environment deal

The House of Lords has warned that a lack of trust and mixed signals from the government risks hampering the UK-EU environment deal.

The UK-EU political declaration agreed in October 2019 included commitments not to reduce environmental and climate protection and ensure a ‘level playing field’ of high standards.

The House of Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee has urged the government to take into account the priorities of the UK’s industry, to build trust with the European Union by strengthening its Environment Bill and to work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on how the UK will deliver high environmental ambitions.

The committee has also stressed the benefits of a level playing field in future relationship negotiations, they said that creating a level playing field would give the UK a lever to make sure that the EU did not ‘backslide’ on its climate ambitions and commitments.

They have also highlighted that this agreement could also strengthen the government’s position in negotiations with other international partners.

Lord Teverson, chair of the EU Environment Sub-Committee, said: ‘The environmental level playing field still appears to be a stumbling block in negotiations.

‘The UK and EU have similarly ambitious aspirations so it should be possible to find common ground. Failure to reach an agreement could have a critical impact.

‘There is room for an agreement which addresses the EU’s concerns without restricting the UK’s ability to increase ambition or choose different policies to achieve the same goals.

‘I hope that a way forward is found.’

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