Brexit risks for environmental protections continue

Brexit has resulted in ongoing uncertainty regarding UK environmental protections and posed serious risks around air quality and chemicals. That’s according to Greener UK’s Brexit Risk Tracker, which rates different […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Brexit has resulted in ongoing uncertainty regarding UK environmental protections and posed serious risks around air quality and chemicals.

That’s according to Greener UK’s Brexit Risk Tracker, which rates different policy areas as being either secure from risk (green), moderately at risk (amber) or at high risk (red) from Brexit.

One issue rated red is air quality – the UK is in breach of EU air quality regulations and it suggests there is a risk that limits could be weakened after Brexit to make it easier for the government to meet its legal requirements.

Another high risk area is chemicals. The EU system for regulating hazardous chemicals (REACH) is the most advanced in the world, recently banning problematic substances in products as diverse as till receipts and waterproof coats.

The government has not committed to following these rules or banning certain chemicals and the minister responsible for pesticides is reported to have called for weaker controls.

Climate & energy issues are rated green, as the UK looks to stay in the EU’s internal energy market, which would make it easier for the nation to decarbonise while keeping energy prices down.

All other policy areas are currently amber, reflecting generally positive statements from government but a lack of reassurance on how EU environmental laws will be adopted.

Amy Mount, Head of the Greener UK unit at Green Alliance, said: “This is a pivotal parliament to determine the sort of country we want to live in as we leave the EU.

“We are running this risk tracker to help the government live up to those ambitions, by highlighting the areas of greatest concern and celebrating any progress made.”