Nature is under attack from plans by UK Government that puts at risk thousands of crucial laws that protect our environment
A new Bill, officially called the Retained EU Law (REUL) Bill, would give Ministers sweeping powers to remove or replace over 4,000 laws in the future, without public consultation or scrutiny by Parliament. If these protections are lost, it would lead to even more pollution poisoning rivers, more wild places at risk of being damaged – and potentially destroyed – and more wildlife threatened with extinction.
Campaign update: 25th May 2023
A crucial vote is took place on Wednesday 24th May that could have serious ramifications for nature. Thousands of Wildlife Trust supporters acted fast to convince MPs to vote for amendments to the Bill in order to ensure Parliament isn’t left out of key decisions in future and that the laws that protect nature are not weakened.
Disappointingly, despite almost 10,000 of you contacting MPs, the UK Government and Conservative MPs voted down this amendment. The Bill will now be voted on in the House of Lords on 6th June, where we hope an amendment will be reinserted to ensure our environmental protections are not watered down.
Campaign update: 15th May 2023
The UK Government had been forging forward with a ‘sunset clause’ on the Retained EU Law Bill that would bulldoze hundreds of important laws that protect nature and people at the end of the year (2023).
On the 15th May 2023, UK Government announced that it had scrapped the ‘sunset clause’, which means many vital environmental laws will remain in place in 2024. Your passionate postcards, emails and tweets to MPs raised the alarm. Thank you for your support. However, the fight is not yet over.
Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“We won’t be congratulating UK Government for its decision to stop doing something it should never have even thought about in the first place. The UK Government’s Retained EU Law bill has been a shambles from the very beginning. Now it has ditched the ‘sunset clause’, which threatened to dismantle most Retained EU Law at the end of this year and posed an immediate threat to vital laws that protect nature and people. However, the huge problem posed by the bill still remains because it will allow future governments to revoke important laws at whim, whenever they want to.
“Ministers should never be given carte blanche to pick and choose which laws should be kept or binned without public consultation or scrutiny – that is fundamentally undemocratic. The uncertainty created by UK Government over Retained EU Law has caused huge problems for business, as well as organisations working to protect nature. Ministers must stop seeing environmental law as a burden because it helps stop more sewage entering our rives and ensures food is safe to eat. Given the urgent need to address the nature and climate crisis, they should be strengthening protections, not ripping them apart.”
This is a huge shift from UK Government, but we are concerned that some laws are still to be binned, whilst the Bill will continue to allow future Ministers, not Parliament, to revoke important laws at whim, whenever they want to.
Whilst environmental protections are under threat, we need to act together NOW to #DefendNature. Contact your MP below.