Peers in the House of Lords have highlighted the risks, saying failure to find common ground on leveling the playing field on environmental issues could be “critical”. The concerns were voiced by the House of Lords EU environment subcommittee, which urged the government to heed the priorities of UK industry.
The UK-EU political declaration approved in October 2019 included commitments not to reduce environmental and climate protection and to ensure a “level playing field” with high common standards.
The UK and the EU have advanced policies in place to drastically cut emissions in the form of net zero and carbon neutral targets.
But despite this common ground, the two sides are struggling to agree on agreements on the environment and food security.
It comes after the latest round of Brexit talks ended in stalemate last month over concerns over fishing water and the ‘level playing field’.
In a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice, peers said a level playing field would give the UK leverage to ensure the EU does not ‘back down’ on its climate ambitions and commitments.
They stressed that the UK government must build trust with its EU colleagues by strengthening its environmental bill.
In addition, the committee stressed that it should work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on approaches to show how the UK will respond to high environmental ambitions.
Lord Teverson, chairman of the committee, said there was room for an agreement that would not restrict the UK.
READ MORE: Brexit fishing bonanza: UK fisheries urge Boris to challenge Brussels
“Failure to reach an agreement could have a critical impact.
“There is room for an agreement that addresses EU concerns without restricting the UK’s ability to increase ambition or choose different policies to achieve the same goals.
“I hope that a way forward is found.”
Scotland is already trying to stay linked to the EU on an environmental level by passing a bill that will give Scottish ministers discretion to align Scottish law with EU environmental law after Brexit.
Scottish Constitutional Secretary Mike Russell said a new bill in Holyrood would mean that on decentralized issues Scottish law can keep pace with that of Europe “where appropriate and feasible” .
The UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill will include provisions to ensure the sustainability of environmental principles and EU governance in Scotland.
The discretion will take effect after the end of the transition period on December 31.
In response, a UK government spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We have made it clear in all of our trade negotiations that we will not compromise on our high standards of environmental protection.
“The UK is playing a global leadership role in tackling climate change and, through our flagship environment bill, we will drive change that not only ensures our leading standards are maintained but also improved.
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