Plans to create a new oversight body risks adding confusion and complexity rather than genuine accountability to environmental policy, says the CLA.
This warning comes in response to the Government consultation on Environmental Principles and Governance after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, published today (10 May).
The consultation sets out options for transposing existing international environmental principles into domestic law and creating a new office. The proposed new body would in part replace the role currently played by European agencies holding the UK Governments to account over the performance of how environmental policy is delivered.
CLA Director of Policy and Advice Christopher Price said: “We are proud of the fact that the UK has some of the highest environmental standards in the world. It is vital this is maintained through Brexit and beyond. However, it is important that everyone involved in deciding, implementing and complying with environmental law is working to clear and consistent standards. We will welcome new legislation that provides that certainty.
“We are concerned that what is suggested in this consultation could add significant cost, complexity and bureaucracy to the system and put at risk the better delivery of environmental policy. As we consider the proposals in detail and discuss the issues with officials and ministers, we will be challenging the Government on why it is not looking at a more fundamental consolidation of the many enforcement and reporting agencies currently involved in environmental governance.
“The worst case scenario is that this agency could end up duplicating or confusing existing arrangements for scrutiny and enforcement in Parliament, existing public authorities and the courts.
“We will also be challenging ministers in Westminster and the devolved governments to ensure that oversight delivered through any new body is applied consistently as soon as possible."
Click here to read the consultation in full.