Article published by the Scotsman, 31 January 2019, by Ilona Amos.
Scottish ministers have come under fire for a lack of progress on steps to protect the country’s environment after Brexit. Scotland and the UK are currently bound by a range of environmental laws as part of the EU, setting out requirements such as limits on air pollution and measures to safeguard important wildlife. Legislation also allows governments to be challenged through the European Commission and European Court of Justice if they don’t comply. The Scottish Government has pledged to consult on establishing new protections
after Brexit in order to ensure no standards are allowed to roll back. The consultation was originally due to be launched after summer last year but was delayed until the end of 2018.However, it has still not taken place. In contrast, Westminster has consulted on proposals and issued a draft bill.Scottish environmental campaigners say the Scottish Government has a duty to prepare for leaving the EU to avoid further destruction of the environment, regardless of its stance on Brexit.Members of Scottish Environment Link, an umbrella group of 35 organisations, are warning that the delay in acting could leave the country “in limbo” after 29 March.
Link chair Charles Dundas said: “Our natural world is in crisis. Even with the important protections which the EU affords us we know that we need to be doing more for the health of our planet. With one in 11 species at risk of extinction in Scotland and progress in only seven out of 20 global nature targets, that is clear.“We need to fight for our right to a healthy environment. But we cannot do that without first safeguarding existing protections. “With no real clarity on Brexit, uncertainty regarding its implications for environmental protections increases.” He added: “The First Minister and senior ministers have said they do not want to see any roll-back of environmental protections as a result of Brexit. But by not launching this consultation they risk doing just that.”