Brexit and the challenge to the UK's climate change obligations:Report

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT GROUP

 

9th February 2017 Meeting on Brexit and Climate Change Held at St Mary’s School Hornsey

 

The speakers were Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Climate Change Minister and Cllr Andrew Cooper, leader of the Green group on Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire. Catherine West MP chaired. About 60 people attended.

 Barry Gardiner had to get to another meeting so he spoke first and took about 3 or 4 questions before he left.

His main points were:

-           Much of the UK’s current environmental law is in fact EU law.

-           The government  propose a 'Great Repeal Bill' to initially adopt all EU law. However they can't be trusted to retain essential environmental regulations such as those on air and water quality, let alone keep up with further progress in EU measures.

-           For example UK nuclear regulations currently derive from Europe, and the government already propose to leave Euratom, which regulates EU nuclear safety.

-           A Labour government would adopt all EU environmental law.

-           The government are also failing to make progress on their commitments under the Paris agreement, and have missed or postponed deadlines for producing Implementation Strategies; BG considered that grass root campaigns and local government can play a crucial role in contributing to our obligations under the agreement. Local authorities have a much more detailed understanding than government of specific measures that can be achieved in their areas , whether CHP, solar power etc.

 

Andrew Cooper spoke after Barry Gardiner.

His main points were:

-           Greens have held the balance of power on Kirklees Council since 1999 -  this has contributed to the council undertaking a number of radical environmental measures.

-           The first of these was to win agreement that income from national insurance reductions would be put into a dedicated renewable energy fund. The fund was used to insulate 50,000 homes for free, regardless of income. This put an estimated £3m back into the local economy through householder savings on energy bills.

-           Other measures included a programme of  LED lighting and PV's in schools.

AC acknowledged that many of these measures would be much more difficult to achieve in the current political and economic climate.

However he was optimistic that even in the Trump era much can be achieved through co-operation between cities and regions in the UK, the EU and the US, bypassing obstructive governments.

AC is a UK representative on the European Committee of The Regions, and was planning a trip to particular states in the US eg California setting their own progressive environmental agendas.

-           AC ended by calling for real alliances, beyond electoral bargaining,  between political parties to bring about change.  

 

There was a brief discussion covering a few points.

 

Catherine West closed the meeting with an account of the significant amount of work she is carrying out on the environment both locally (eg on air quality and schools) and in parliament, including scrutiny of the Brexit process and representations to the Climate Change Committee. The parliamentary environmental work is frequently  at cross-party level  and in close collaboration with Caroline Lucas'

 

HM & NB 14.03.17

 

 

 

 

 

 

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