LINK members take note of the introduction of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (hereafter the Bill). From an environmental outcomes perspective, we agree with the position of the Scottish Government, that the process of the UK exiting the EU would be most effectively achieved through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, if an agreement can be reached between all UK governments.
LINK members would like to take the opportunity to comment on some critical provisions of the Continuity Bill which relate to issues raised in previous submissions to the Scottish Parliament as part of the Committees’ work on implications of UK exit from the EU for Scotland, as well as scrutiny of the UK Withdrawal Bill for the purposes of legislative consent.
LINK members welcome the Bill’s provisions with respect to retaining the Charter of Fundamental Rights which clearly acknowledges the importance of environmental protection. Similarly, the provisions regarding the recitals and enhanced scrutiny afforded by the Bill are also welcomed.
However, LINK members also note that:
- The Bill does not explicitly retain EU environment and animal welfare principles despite retaining the Charter of Fundamental Rights which does reference environmental protection
- The Bill does not seek to address the environmental governance gap emanating from the UK’s exit from the EU and the loss of critical functions currently performed by EU bodies
For the Bill to meet its avowed goal of “providing for continuity of law including environmental protections in EU law” those two critical points need to be urgently addressed through amendments to the Bill.
LINK members call on Members of the Scottish Parliament to support amendments that seek to address these two key issues.
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