Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 28 July 2017


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

Brexit Briefing – Weekly Summary

This Friday’s edition of the Brexit Briefing is part of the series of posts to highlight articles published in the media covering Brexit from an environmental perspective.

The articles are presented in chronological order with the most recent articles first. They are not presented in any specific order of importance & are provided as a selected sample of news articles to promote understanding of the key environmental issues as they develop during the Brexit process.

The selected articles this week are:

Boris Johnson accused of Brexit ‘hornswoggle’ after insisting Britain won’t pay EU ‘divorce bill’ first (Independent, 27 July 2017)

Exclusive: EU threat to suspend Brexit talks unless Britain pays its divorce bill (The Telegraph, 27 July 2017)

Brexit chance to improve environment, NRW chief says (BBC, 27 July 2017)

Farming post-Brexit: the fate of agri-environment schemes (View from the Fence, 26 July 2017)

Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion (CounterPunch, 26 July 2017)

Brexit ‘implementation phase’ would be in UK interest – Gove (Reuters, 26 July 2017)

Resurgence Talks: Craig Bennett – What Options for the Environment Post Brexit? (YouTube, 25 July 2017)

Michael Gove has become something of an eco-warrior. But is he all talk? (TheCanary, 25 July 2017)

Views aired on farming subsidies – Changes faced by the UK as it leaves the EU are set to be felt by businesses across the county’s agriculture industry (InCumbria, 25 July 2017)

Post-Brexit trade deals ‘threaten UK’s animal welfare standards’ (The Guardian, 25 July 2017)

Powers over agriculture should come straight to Wales, not sit in London after Brexit, says Lesley Griffiths (ITV News, 24 July 2017)

UK government tries to reassure Ulster farmers about post-Brexit subsidies (MercoNews, 24 July 2017)

Gove must follow through on talk of renewed waste plan (resource, 24 July 2017)

Could Michael Gove and Greg Clark become the eco-warriors the green economy has been waiting for? (BusinessGreen, 24 July 2017)

Brexit deal should not ‘drag on’ until after next election, says Liam Fox (The Guardian, 24 July 2017)

Post Brexit tranisitional period until 2022 ‘no big deal (The Scotsman, 23 July 2017)

Michael Gove sets outs reforms for post-Brexit farm subsidies which could pose threat to those in Scotland (The National, 22 July 2017)

Farming union labels Michael Gove’s vision for agriculture a ‘concern’ (FarmingUK, 22 July 2017)

Is there any such thing as a Green Brexit? (The New Economics Foundation, 21 July 2017)

Michael Gove’s green dream: like Brexit, the reality awaits (The Guardian, 21 July 2017)

Gove pledges to deliver a “green Brexit” (Adjacent Open Access, 21 July 2017)

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power


An Inconvenient Sequel - Truth to Power to be released in July 2017

An Inconvenient Sequel – Truth to Power to be released in July 2017

It has been more than a decade since the former US Vice President, Al Gore helped to stimulate millions to start talking about the climate crisis with the release of his film: An Inconvenient Truth.

Now in July 2017, he returns to cinema screens this week with the exciting release of a new film – An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power. 

An Inconvenient Sequel is being released at a critical moment in the climate change movement’s history, as the United States have withdrawn from the Paris Agreement & there are concerns that other countries, such as the United Kingdom could reduce their climate change commitment due to the current Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

The film follows Al Gore as he travels the world and works with scientists, activists, and ordinary citizens to build an international coalition ready to confront the greatest challenge of our time. It, also, highlights Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, which equips ordinary people with training to understand climate change & to speak out to protect our shared heritage. 

The film will get its initial release in New York and Los Angeles on 28 July 2017 before a wider release to cinemas across the United States later on 4 August 2017.

I am confident that a wider international release will follow, with a United Kingdom release date of 18 August 2017 already announced, so that we can all share in an update to the original film.

If you want to watch a trailer for An Inconvenient Sequel, please click here

Posted in Carbon Management, Environmental, Government, Greenhouse Gas | Leave a comment

Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 21 July 2017


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

Brexit Briefing – Weekly Summary

This Friday’s edition of the Brexit Briefing is part of the series of posts to highlight articles published in the media covering Brexit from an environmental perspective.

The articles are presented in chronological order with the most recent articles first. They are not presented in any specific order of importance & are provided as a selected sample of news articles to promote understanding of the key environmental issues as they develop during the Brexit process.

The selected articles this week are:

Gove promises ‘Green Brexit’ in first environment speech (EnergyVoice, 21 July 2017)

Cabinet accepts Brexit transition will mean years of free movement (The Guardian, 20 July 2017)

What will post-Brexit pesticides authorisation and capital support for fresh produce look like? (HorticultureWeek, 20 July 2017)

Enforcement of environmental law: what is not in the Brexit Bill (UKHumanRightsBlog, 20 July 2017)

Business leaders and top investors urge May to deliver bold climate action plan (BusinessGreen, 20 July 2017)

Downing Street pledges to respect devolution during Brexit (The  Scotsman, 20 July 2017)

Devon’s new Labour MP gets shadow Defra role (DevonLive, 20 July 2017)

UK threatens to return radioactive waste to EU without nuclear deal (The Guardian, 19 July 2017)

House of Lords: Brexit ‘fundamental challenge’ to Britain’s future (Politico, 19 July 2017)

UK one of the best prepared countries for change (Economia, 19 July 2017)

Anne McCall: Conserving nature has never been more crucial (The Scotsman, 19 July 2017)

Conservative backbenchers call on May to get rid of ‘donkey’ Brexiteers if she wants their support (The National, 19 July 2017)

EU set to halt Brexit talks ‘because the UK is not ready’ (Independent, 18 July 2017)

Post-Brexit agricultural policy could be “six years in the making” says Defra policy specialist (HorticultureWeek, 18 July 2017)

Rudd tells Tory MPs to get on with jobs amid infighting over May (The Guardian, 18 July 2017)

Article 50 author calls for Brexit to be halted with a warning of ‘disastrous consequences’ Independent, 18 July 2017)

British Crop Production Council asks the big questions for UK agriculture post-Brexit (Horticulture Week, 18 July 2017)

Davis branded “thick as mince” by former Vote Leave chief Cummings as rancour breaks out in Brexit movement (The Herald, 18 July 2017)

Environmental select committees take shape as new Shadow minister announced (Resource, 17 July 2017)

Could the Swiss model serve as a template for Brexit? (MoneyWeek, 17 July 2017)

Brexit talks resume: Get down to business, David Davis urges (BBC, 17 July 2017)

UK ‘sleepwalking’ into food insecurity after Brexit, academics say (The Guardian, 17 July 2017)

Theresa May to tell ministers: stop leaking details of cabinet rifts (The Guardian, 17 July 2017)

David Davis leaves Brussels after less than an hour of Brexit talks (The Guardian, 17 July 2017)

It’s not just farms and the environment. We need policies for everyone (The Guardian, 16 July 2017)

Iain Macwhirter: With Brexit on a knife-edge Scotland and Wales may yet call the shots (The Hearld, 16 July 2017)

Brexit threatens Britain’s place at the nuclear top table (The Guardian, 16 July 2017)

On first looking into the Brexit Bill (Human Rights Blog, 15 July 2017)

Brexit Minister urges MSPs to back changes to repeal bill (BBC News, 16 July 2017)

Post-Brexit farmers will have to show green benefit for subsidies (The Sunday Times, 15 July 2017)

Let’s have a second Brexit referendum and count votes by under-30s TWICE, says Nick Clegg (who admits his ‘time is up’ in politics) (MailOnline, 14 July 2017)

Exclusive: Theresa May considers asking Labour to join cross-party Brexit commission (The Telegraph, 14 July 2017)

The Guardian view on Brexit policy: time for Britain to get real (The Guardian, 14 July 2017)

Brexit talks stall because of political crisis in Northern Ireland (TheScotsman, 14 July 2017)

Pat McFadden: Government on collision course with opposition over Brexit laws Express&Star, 14 July 2017)

MPs to ‘keep up heat’ on government over air pollution (AirQualityNews, 14 July 2017)

Repeal Bill: ‘Environment-shaped hole’ sparks fears for green regulations (BusinessGreen, 13 July 2017)

Scottish and Welsh governments threaten to refuse repeal bill legislative consent – Politics live (The Guardian, 13 July 2017)

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Brexit Briefing: House of Lord’s analysis on Brexit and Devolution


House of Lord's Brexit and Devolution report published today (19 July 2017)

House of Lord’s Brexit and Devolution report published today (19 July 2017)

The House of Lords European Union Committee has published their report on the fundamental constitutions challenges for the UK and its devolution settlements with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland covering competencies including environmental issues, economy and funding.

The report looks ta the impact of UK withdrawal from the EU on the UK’s devolution settlements which, it acknowledges, is one of the most technically complex and politically contentious elements of the Brexit debate.

In the absence of changes to the devolution settlements, responsibility for policy areas that are already devolved, but are in practice exercised largely at EU level, principally; agriculture, fisheries and the environment, would fall automatically to the devolved jurisdictions at the moment of Brexit.

This situation will lead to an increased risk of political clashes between the devolved administrations and the UK Government in its responsibility for negotiating international agreements, which may overlap with devolved competences. There will, also, be the potential for regulatory divergence, for instance in environmental standards, creating intra-UK barriers to trade.

Whilst the report identifies cross-cutting environmental issues in many areas and with an emphasis on environmental protection and regulation, the main analysis is in relation to “The environment, agriculture and fisheries” (Paragraphs 216 – 224).

The concern in these three areas are what form the full exercise of the devolved competence will take, without the guiding hand of the EU, & that it will not necessarily be straightforward.

As reported elsewhere, on the day of Brexit, competences currently exercised at EU level will, by default, be exercised in accordance with these pre-existing statutory provisions between the UK and devolved administrations.

An attempt to amend the devolution settlements ahead of Brexit would be complex and politically controversial, against the background that neither the UK Government nor Parliament has the capacity to undertake such a task at the same time as achieving a successful Brexit.

The report amongst many other conclusions suggests that “On balance, we therefore conclude that, for the duration of the Brexit process, the statutory balance of competences between the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures should as far as possible be unchanged”.

This valuable report from the House of Lords helps to move the Brexit debate forward in terms for competencies, such as the environment, that are largely controlled from the EU & how this will operate in a post-Brexit landscape.

If you want to read, first-hand, the analysis from the House of Lord’s report, a copy of the report can be downloaded here

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Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 14 July 2017


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

Brexit Briefing – Weekly Summary

This Friday’s edition of the Brexit Briefing is part of the series of posts to highlight articles published in the media covering Brexit from an environmental perspective.

The articles are presented in chronological order with the most recent articles first. They are not presented in any specific order of importance & are provided as a selected sample of news articles to promote understanding of the key environmental issues as they develop during the Brexit process.

The selected articles this week are:

Legislative war over Brexit begins as the huge Repeal Bill meant to copy and paste 12,000 Brussels laws and deliver the referendum is FINALLY revealed (MailOnline, 13 July 2017)

Brexit: The UK’s key repeal bill facing challenges (BBC News, 13 July 2017)

Repeal bill: All you need to know (BBC News, 13 July 2017)

Repeal Bill: What is it? Everything you need to know (Independent, 13 July 2017)

Green groups call for overhaul of repeal bill to safeguard environment after Brexit (The Guardian, 12 July 2017)

Zac Goldsmith: Why I seek to become Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (ConservativeHome, 11 July 2017)

BBC Panorama shows American farmers desperate to break into UK market post-Brexit (FGInsight, 11 July 2017)

Climate change and cost of land cited as top threats (FruitNet, 11 July 2017)

Shoppers ‘completely in the dark’ about Brexit impact – ex-Sainsbury’s boss (BT, 10 July 2017)

“Brexit is an attempt to get out of European regulation. It’s a crisis,” says David Chipperfield (DeZeen, 10 July 2017)

Rebel MPs form cross-party group to oppose hard Brexit (The Guardian, 10 July 2017)

Gibraltar and UK delegations discuss Brexit at the Rock (MercoPress, 8 July 2017)

We need an agreement ASAP (FarmingLife, 8 July 2017)

UK farmers ‘can grow more, sell more and export more’ after Brexit, says new Scotland office minister (FarmingUK, 7 July 2017)

Conservatives battle for chairmanship of powerful Treasury committee (The Guardian, 7 July 2017)

Prices of British strawberries could double if migrant labour drops due to Brexit (FarmingUK, 7 July 2017)

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The Great Repeal Bill is here


The Great Repeal Bill has been published as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill today (13 July 2017)

The Great Repeal Bill has been published as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill today (13 July 2017)

After much political and media attention following the UK Referendum last year, the Great Repeal Bill has, finally, been published as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

More to come in a further article but for now, a copy can be downloaded here

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Water and Sewerage Companies’ Performance Report 2017


Water and Sewerage Companies’ Performance Report for 2016 published today (12 July 2017)

Water and Sewerage Companies’ Performance Report for 2016 published today (12 July 2017)

Within the United Kingdom, there are nine water and sewerage companies that operate wholly or mainly in England, providing clean (drinking) water and waste water (sewerage) services. It should be noted that there are an additional 10 water-only companies providing only drinking water, and a number of small ‘inset’ companies providing drinking and sewerage services on a localised basis, which are not covered by this report.

As the environmental regulator, the Environment Agency works with these water companies to minimise the impact that their assets and activities have on the environment through agreed investment in environmental controls through the Assets Management Programme – Environmental Programme in conjunction with Ofwat (the UK economic regulator for the water sector), environmental permitting, controls of the spread of sewerage on agricultural land & the management of environmental pollution incidents.

The Environment Agency monitors their environmental performance throughout the year against important objectives including reducing pollution incidents, complying with permits and delivering environmental improvement schemes and publish an annual assessment of their performance.

The water and sewerage companies covered in the performance report are:

Anglian Water
Northumbrian Water
Severn Trent Water
Southern Water
South West Water
Thames Water
United Utilities
Wessex Water
Yorkshire Water

The reported year is 2016, so it does not report on significant pollution incidents, such as Southern Water fined record £2m for sewage leak on Kent beachesThames Water ordered to pay record £20 million for river pollution as these incidents occurred in 2012 and 2013-2014 respectively and highlight the length of time that it takes for the Environment Agency to gain a successful prosecution for such pollution incidents.

Indeed, the report notes “In 2016, we saw the highest level of fines following prosecution, at just over £6.5 million, and we also saw a rise in the number of prosecutions.”

Overall, there was a slight reduction in the number of serious pollution incidents (Category 2 and 3) but an increase in the most serious, Category 1, incidents as defined by the Environment Agency’s the Common Incident Classification Scheme (CICS).

On a positive side, two companies, United Utilities and Wessex Water, achieved 4 star leading company status and this is an opportunity to celebrate their success.

Other highlights from the report are:

  • A slight reduction in the number of serious pollution incidents to 57 compared to 59 in 2015, 61 in 2014 and 88 in 2013
  • A rise in the most serious (category 1) pollution incidents to 9, all associated with sewerage, after 2 record low years when there were only 4 per year
  • An increase in the total number of pollution incidents (category 1 to 3) at 1902 compared to 1742 in 2015, a disappointing first rise in incidents since 2012
  • The highest ever level of self-reporting of pollution incidents at 72% (69% in 2015) showing better asset management and enabling quicker action to reduce pollution
  • Compliance with environmental permits at sewage treatment and water treatment works remains very good at 98.6% compared to 98.7% in 2015
  • Sludge use and disposal in 2016 was good overall, one company reported 99.97%, all other companies reported 100%
  • All 9 companies reported good performance, with 100% delivery of planned environmental improvement schemes for the financial year to March 2017
  • For 2016 to 2017, 8 of the 9 companies reported a score of 100 for the Security of Supply Index for water availability and green status in the EPA, with one company reporting red status.

A copy of the Water and Sewerage Companies’ Performance Report 2017 covering their performance in 2016 can be downloaded here with previous performance reports available for: 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Posted in Environment Agency, Water Pollution, Water Use | Leave a comment