Brexit and biodiversity: submissions invited to a Government inquiry


Following on from my posts regarding how Brexit may affect the UK’s environmental policies and activities (see here and here) the Government has moved (surprisingly) quickly to begin an inquiry into how leaving the EU may affect issues that [quote] “include the future of funding for biodiversity and agri-environment schemes, the likely changes in the devolved administration, and the role that managed rewilding can play in conservation and restoration”.

I say “surprisingly” because the Government is no doubt focused on what they might see as more pressing concerns; but then much of this inquiry relates to how Brexit might affect biodiversity via subsidies to farmers, and the farming lobby is very powerful of course, and is no doubt pressing Defra to get a move on.

Here’s a link to the inquiry’s official website.  From that site I’ve pulled out the following text:

The Environmental Audit Committee invites submissions on some or all of the questions below:

  • What are the implications for UK biodiversity of leaving the EU, in particular the Common Agricultural Policy? To what extent do initiatives to support biodiversity in the UK depend on CAP-related payments? What risks and opportunities could developing our own agri-environment policy and funding present?
  • How should future support for UK agriculture be structured in order to ensure there are incentives for environmentally-friendly land management? What are the positives/negatives of current schemes (e.g. Countryside Stewardship) that should be retained/avoided?
  • How should future UK agri-environment support be administered, and what outcomes should it focus on?
  • What are the prospects and challenges for future environmental stewardship schemes in the devolved administrations? How much divergence in policy between the nations of the United Kingdom is likely? How can divergence be managed?
  • What are the future risks and opportunities to innovative land practices, such as managed rewilding? What role can rewilding play in conservation and restoration of habitats and wildlife? What evidence is there to support the incentivising of such schemes in any new land management policies?

There is a form for submissions (available on the website) and the deadline is Friday 9th September 2016.

I’ll be submitting a response via the Northamptonshire Local Nature Partnership, and welcome comments and ideas from any readers.

5 thoughts on “Brexit and biodiversity: submissions invited to a Government inquiry

  1. John Smith

    a constitutional clarification… the government is doing nothing on this issue. This is an inquiry by the Environmental Audit Committee; which is an apparatus of the UK Parliament, i.e. of the legislature and not the executive. As such, this inquiry is completely independent of government. In that light, it is not surprising that the committee of the UK Parliament responsible for scrutinising UK environmental legislation is running such an inquiry at this time.

  2. Stteven Falk

    Thanks Jeff. Time is ripe for courting Government and helping to shape things. I meet DEFRA folk from time to time and they are not the faceless bureaucrats that people like to characterise them as. But, as I have tweeted in various occasions, one of the biggest threats to biodiversity at the moment is the negativity and lack of imagination/vision of most anti-Brexit environmentalists.

    1. jeffollerton Post author

      Thanks Steve. Yes, I know people in Defra and I agree. But Defra’s only part of the story and it’s ministers and their teams who will be making decisions.

      Clearly we are in a state of flux at the moment so the confusion/negativity/lack of vision (call it what you will) is, I think, a natural response to the current situation. People react badly to change, in the main. And there is going to be large-scale change but no clear idea of (a) how to manage that change; and (b) what the end-point of the change is going to be.

      This government has a poor overall track record when it comes to the environment (plastic bag tax not withstanding) and I think there’s a real danger that the already low levels of protection afforded to nature in this country could be weakened further by a government focused on the economy at the expense of the environment. EU legislation provided something of a buffer to that in the past but will not in the future.


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