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ScotlandWales environment ministers to meet
© Ninian Reid

Scotland-Wales environment ministers to meet

18/08/17Environment

Environment ministers from Scotland and Wales are to meet to co-ordinate opposition to Brexit legislation.

The two administrations have said they fear the Westminster government is planning to take over powers which are currently devolved, but exercised in Brussels, Belgium.

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said a UK-wide framework for green targets could hold Scotland back.

UK ministers have insisted that any changes after Brexit will improve, not reduce, environmental protection.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have come together to oppose moves from Westminster on several occasions in recent months, with first ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones issuing a joint statement describing the EU Withdrawal Bill as a ‘naked power grab’.

Cunningham’s visit to Cardiff to meet Welsh counterpart Lesley Griffiths comes three weeks after Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell made a similar trip to sit down with Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford.

They upheld their position that they could not recommend that Holyrood or the Welsh Assembly give legislative consent for the withdrawal bill, which is designed to translate EU law onto the UK statute.

Cunningham contended that around 80% of Scots environmental law originated at EU level, including legislation around waste management, pollution, biodiversity, flooding and drinking water quality.

She said: “Imposing a UK-wide framework for the environment risks undermining the significant progress Scotland has made, which has seen us win international recognition for our work on climate change and the circular economy.

“We are not opposed in principle to UK-wide frameworks in certain areas, but this must be through agreement – not imposition.

“Protecting devolution will allow us to drive forward our ambitious work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance environmental standards and create a cleaner, greener Scotland for everyone.”

Pan European Networks Ltd