Greener UK
News and comment

News and comment

17 March, 2018

How farming in a post-Brexit world could be a chance to change the rules

The Independent

We all know leaving the European Union extends far beyond borders and passport colours. But what, asks Julia Platt Leonard, does it mean for the finances of our farmers, the health of the soil and the trade involved?

17 March, 2018

Drugs, plastics and flea killer: the unseen threats to UK's rivers

The Observer

Waterways look cleaner but levels of new pollutants are not being monitored.

16 March, 2018

Gove eyes new green laws to 'underpin' protections post-Brexit

Business Green

Environment Secretary says government commitment to improving environment means leaving 'the statute book in a better state than we inherited it'.

12 March, 2018

Brexit: UK ministers to temporarily hold back green powers from devolved nations

ENDS Report

Environmental policies and powers related to chemicals, ozone-depleting substances, pesticides and waste are among 24 devolved areas where the UK government wants to temporarily retain control after Brexit, the Cabinet Office has said.

6 March, 2018

The government’s missing principles

Labour Lords

This week, in the EU Withdrawal Bill, the Lords will debate a package of amendments designed to ensure the full range of environmental protections are transposed into UK law. Peers from across the House have been working with environment charities through the umbrella body, Greener UK, and many of the amendments have wide cross-party support.

1 March, 2018

Brussels’ draft Brexit agreement proposes EU rules for Northern Ireland

ENDS Report

The European Commission has issued a draft version of the legal text that will govern the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

1 March, 2018

Government needs to act on environmental promises

ENDS Report

The government has made some encouraging noises indicating it is taking the environment more seriously, but it needs to follow through with details on policy and funding.

14 February, 2018

Boris Johnson hints at opportunity to dilute environmental standards post-Brexit

Business Green

Foreign Secretary insists any Brexit deal must provide UK with the freedom to change environmental rules, energy efficiency standards, and energy taxes if it wants to.

30 January, 2018

Reports: Brexit impact assessment leak spells green economy woes

Business Green

Leaked Whitehall analysis suggests almost every sector of economy will be worse off under all scenarios once the UK leaves the EU.

25 January, 2018

Cuts Increase Risk to Waste and Resources Sector Post-Brexit


Budget cuts and lack of funding at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) could undermine ambitious government plans for waste and resources policy after Brexit, keeping the sector a ‘high risk’ policy area on Greener UK’s Brexit Risk Tracker.

23 January, 2018

UK green protections at 'high risk' post-Brexit

Key areas of UK environmental policy such as air quality, chemicals and waste are at "high risk" of being less protected after Britain's departure from the EU, a coalition of green groups has warned.

22 January, 2018

UK risks losing environmental protections after Brexit, say leading campaigners

The Independent

There is a “significant risk” that the UK’s environmental protections will be reduced following Brexit, according to a new report.

21 January, 2018

Britain risks losing green protections after Brexit

The Guardian

A coalition of leading environmental groups says there is a “significant risk” that British environmental protections will be reduced after Brexit, despite the government’s positive rhetoric.

21 January, 2018

Significant risk of reduced environmental protections post-Brexit, reports coalition

Greener UK press release

Greener UK has today published its latest Brexit Risk Tracker, which assesses the UK government’s performance in planning for a green Brexit. It has found that all main areas of environmental policy are still at medium or even high risk of being less protected after we leave the EU.

11 January, 2018

Greener UK reacts to 25 Year Environment Plan

Amy Mount, head of the Greener UK Unit

It is reassuring for the Prime Minister to confirm that environmental standards will not be weakened after Brexit. The 25-year plan can only be successful if it builds on the vital environmental protections we already enjoy, such as those that have given us cleaner air and water.

The government has pledged to look into creating an independent environmental watchdog, and to update its environment plan every five years and measure its progress annually. These are welcome commitments that, with firmer targets, can help forge a green Brexit.

We also urge the government to cement its green ambitions in law with an environment act, and provide legislative footing for fundamental environmental principles such as the precautionary principle that are currently absent from the Withdrawal Bill.

4 January, 2018

Farmland could turn into meadows after Brexit, says Michael Gove

The Guardian

Farmers will get subsidies for turning fields back into wildflower meadows after Brexit, according to environment secretary Michael Gove.

22 December, 2017

Was 2017 a turning point for the UK’s environment?

Shara Samra, policy assistant for the Greener UK unit of Green Alliance, writes for Inside Track

As we entered 2017, the UK was on edge, with the government’s plans for Brexit unclear, and the environmental dimensions of that even more so. While much remains at risk as the year draws to a close, prospects for our environment look brighter than they did 12 months ago.

6 December, 2017

Three Brexit governance gaps no one is talking about

Andy Jordan, Charlie Burns and Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the ESRC funded Brexit & Environment network, write for Inside Track

The EU has mostly exerted its influence through the medium of law and policy. For many non-experts, 29 March 2017 (when Article 50 was triggered) was the day when the risk that large parts of the UK’s environment could lose their legislative protections suddenly became very real indeed.

6 December, 2017

Could the Irish border hold the key to a green Brexit?

Business Green

The government's struggle to strike an Irish border Brexit agreement is prompting concern among green groups.

4 December, 2017

Green Alliance urges UK government to stick to REACH

Chemical Watch

During Brexit talks, the UK should negotiate full access to REACH and maintain waste regulations, definitions and principles, a report by UK thinktank Green Alliance says.

16 November, 2017

This parliamentary debate was a significant moment for the UK’s environment

Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary affairs associate, Greener UK Unit of Green Alliance, writes for Inside Track

It’s so often the case that environmental issues are overlooked in parliament, squeezed in time and overshadowed by other priorities. But last night saw something rather special: three hours of uninterrupted parliamentary debate on the environment in which politicians from all parties were competing to speak and make and seek commitments about future environmental protection.

16 November, 2017

Green Brexit push set to continue despite amendments defeat

Business Green

Government wins Commons votes on environmental amendments, but vigorous debate and promise of further scrutiny means no let-up in calls for stronger 'green Brexit' protections.

13 November, 2017

‘Green Brexit’ will safeguard environment

The Times

Michael Gove sought to further burnish his environmental credentials yesterday by announcing plans for a “green Brexit” with higher protection standards than those within the EU.

11 November, 2017

GREXIT: Michael Gove reveals green Brexit plans including creation of environment watchdog after split from EU

The Scottish Sun

The Environment Secretary laid out plans amid fears existing laws will be watered down once Britain leaves the EU.

7 November, 2017

MPs’ scrutiny of the Withdrawal Bill is crunch time for the environment

Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary affairs associate, Greener UK Unit of Green Alliance, writes for Inside Track

As Greener UK has already highlighted, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill is crucial in ensuring the protection of the UK’s environment. So we will be on high alert when MPs begin their detailed scrutiny of the bill in a little over a week.

3 November, 2017

UK to establish new regulator to address gap in post-Brexit green governance

Climate Action Programme

Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment has revealed that the UK government is considering establishing a new regulator to make sure that the country’s environmental standards are still in place after the UK leaves the European Union.

31 October, 2017

Tony Juniper takes on lead advocacy role at WWF

WWF has announced that prominent conservationist Tony Juniper has joined the green organisation as executive director for advocacy and campaigns.

18 October, 2017

Gove to consult on Brexit changes to environmental law

ENDS Report

A consultation group is to be created by DEFRA to enable organisations and businesses to engage with amendments needed to transfer EU legislation onto the UK’s statute books.

17 October, 2017

What will happen to UK chemicals policy post-Brexit?

Nigel Haigh, honorary fellow and former director of IEEP, writes for Inside Track

As a way of understanding the challenges Brexit poses in the area of chemicals, here I look at the origins of chemicals policy, its place in environmental policy and also its peculiarities.

17 October, 2017

UK withdrawal bill 'rips the heart out of environmental law', say campaigners

The Guardian

New bill omits key ‘precautionary’ principle requiring developers and industry to prove actions will not harm wildlife or habitats as well as ‘polluter pays’ protections.

6 October, 2017

Brexit: time to get serious

Shaun Spiers, executive director of Green Alliance and chair of the Greener UK coalition, writes for Inside Track

One of Mrs Thatcher’s governments’ most enduring achievements was the European single market, steered into existence by the Conservative European Commissioner, Lord Cockfield. In his memoirs, Cockfield recalled the time he had to tell the prime minister that introducing the single market would entail a degree of tax harmonisation to prevent trade barriers.

29 September, 2017

Green NGOs raise 'red flag' over escalating Brexit risks

Business Green

Greener UK coalition warns government is not making sufficient progress in ensuring the environment is safeguarded post-Brexit. A coalition of 13 environmental NGOs will today warn concerns are escalating over the government's ability to deliver its promise of a "green Brexit".

13 September, 2017

Who’s afraid of the ECJ? Let’s debate environmental governance

Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the Brexit and Environment network of academic experts, write for Inside Track

Michael Gove has suggested debating how the UK can “design potentially more effective, more rigorous and more responsive institutions, new means of holding individuals and organisations to account for environmental outcomes”. This creates a welcome opportunity to discuss what kind of governance system the UK should have outside the EU.

22 August, 2017

Concerns raised about how environmental laws will be enforced after Brexit

Greener UK news release

However the EU and UK decide that cross-border disputes will be settled in future, it's essential that everyone can access the legal system, and that courts are able to apply justice – fairly and impartially. Read the briefing.

13 August, 2017

A green Brexit is possible, says Stuart Winter

Daily Express

The EU’s powerful environmental directives that had protected our birds and beasts, landscapes and shining seas for decades looked ready to be set ablaze on bonfires to mark our liberation from Brussels’ bureaucratic yoke.

3 August, 2017

Why the UK should stick with the EU’s world leading chemical protections

Andrea Speranza, Brexit campaigner at CHEM Trust, writes for Inside Track

Like everyone, I receive a lot of receipts each week. I drop them dismissively into my bag. When I tidy up at the start of the week, I notice how many there are and, until recently, the only risk I saw was financial.

3 August, 2017

Ministers must support farmers to save wildlife from 'damaging uncertainty'

The Guardian

British farmers are returning to intensive measures that deplete wildlife and damage the environment as a vacuum in government policy leaves them facing an uncertain future after the Brexit vote.

13 July, 2017

Will Brexit break down or expand the new approaches that have been improving our rivers?

Richard Benwell, head of government affairs, writes for Inside Track

Every stretch of river has its own character. Each has its own charms and needs. It’s this diversity that can help to inspire communities to love and protect their rivers and it’s the reason why every portion of every river needs to be given its own care.

13 July, 2017

EU Withdrawal Bill faces rough ride in parliament

The ENDS Report

The government’s attempt to lend itself far-reaching powers to adapt and transfer EU law into the UK canon, with minimal scrutiny, is set to encounter stiff resistance in parliament and from environmental groups.

13 July, 2017

Will the Withdrawal Bill work for the environment?

Paul McNamee, head of politics at Green Alliance, writes for Inside Track

Though the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more.

12 July, 2017

Green groups call for overhaul of repeal bill to safeguard environment after Brexit

The Guardian

Environmental campaigners with 8 million members between them are putting forward key amendments to the repeal bill to be published on Thursday to tackle the threat of Brexit leaving huge gaps in environmental protection in the UK.

7 July, 2017

Green groups and MPs launch push to strengthen post-Brexit environmental protection

Business Green

Cross-party group of MPs warn current plan to enforce environmental rules through Judicial Reviews is inadequate.

7 July, 2017

Green groups and MPs work together on Repeal Bill amendment to ensure adequate implementation of environmental law

Greener UK news release

As discussed on Radio 4’s Today Programme, the Greener UK coalition have begun working with a cross-party group of MPs to ensure the Repeal Bill does not dilute the force of law which has cleaned up UK beaches and is tackling the air quality crisis in urban areas.

28 June, 2017

Greener UK is tracking Brexit risks so you don’t have to

Gemma Wells, Brexit project officer at RSPB, writes for Inside Track

It’s been a tumultuous time in UK politics since we voted to leave the EU a year ago. The overriding mood of the year has been uncertainty which has permeated all sectors, not least the environmental sector.

25 June, 2017

Michael Gove could use Brexit to shelve key plan to protect the environment, critics fear

The Independent

Green campaigners and political rivals have raised concerns that Michael Gove's return to the cabinet has led to a key environmental plan being shelved.

23 June, 2017

Chemical industry: ‘greater consensus needed’ as Brexit talks begin

Chemical Watch

The UK’s chemical industry has called for broad agreement on Brexit priorities as formal talks between EU and UK negotiators got underway in Brussels this week.

23 June, 2017

Brexit anniversary brings Greener UK warnings of holes in waste governance


Fears about the future of UK environmental regulation and the legal oversight and case law on resources persist on the anniversary of the referendum that kicked off Brexit.

23 June, 2017

Ongoing uncertainty around UK environmental protection, concludes first assessment of Brexit environment impact

Greener UK press release

On the anniversary of the EU referendum, Greener UK, a coalition of 13 major environmental organisations, publishes the first assessment under its comprehensive Brexit Risk Tracker, which will be regularly updated to reflect the risks to environmental policy throughout the Brexit process.

19 June, 2017

Three key environmental tests for the Queen’s speech

Greener UK statement

​The Great Repeal Bill is expected to be a major focus of the upcoming Queen’s speech. The Greener UK coalition[1] has set out three key tests for the bill to meet, to ensure it secures the benefits of existing environmental laws as the UK leaves the EU.