(16 February 2019) The Scottish government published earlier this month a consultation paper on environmental principles and governance after Brexit, echoing the draft Environment Bill issued by the Government in Westminster. The paper postulates that the high environmental standards gained during EU membership by the UK could be put at risk under future trade relationships, and therefore must be safeguarded.
Scottish authorities plan to focus on four key EU principles (precautionary, polluter pays, prevention and rectification) accompanied by a statement of interpretation and application, to which Ministers must pay regard to in the formation of policy. This has the potential to start discussions on the recognition of human rights related to the environment, within the process of developing a new Scottish Human Rights Framework. The governance section envisages four parts, somewhat similar to the Environment Bill provisions: monitoring, scrutiny of government’s performance, a mechanism for complaints and enforcement.
Responses to the consultation will be received until 11 May 2019, meaning a regulatory gap will open in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
Scottish Government’s consultation paper
Brexit and Environment’s article on Scotland’s public consultation