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Charities express ‘serious concern’ that UK Government will rewrite Welsh laws protecting the environment

19 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Greg Clark picture by Richard Townsend (CC BY 3.0). Right, farm picture by the Welsh Government.

Environmental charities from Wales and the other nations of the UK have written to the Westminster government expressing “serious concern” that they will be able to overwrite devolved laws protecting the environment.

Four charities – Wales Environment LINK, Wildlife and Countryside LINK, Scottish Environment LINK, and Northern Ireland Environment LINK – have written a letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark asking him to reconsider parts of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

They said that the bill will allow the UK Government to overwrite environmental protections introduced by the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The UK Government have said that they will “work closely” with the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and will “respect devolution settlements”.

But in their letter to Levelling Up Minister Greg Clark, the charities say that the proposals “are of serious concern to our members because they have the potential to weaken the protection of the environment”.

“Our organisations and members have no specific constitutional position; however, we note that under the current arrangements, within the UK, the environment is considered a devolved matter.

“The Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive have developed and legislated for distinctive environmental policies in their jurisdictions.

“In some cases, we applaud these policies, in others we have argued for different approaches – however, in all cases, they should be scrutinised, agreed and approved by their respective Parliament or Assembly with engagement of civil society at various stages.

“Yet, as it stands, Part 5 of the above bill extends to the whole of the UK and any proposed EOR regulations containing provisions within the devolved competences must be subject only to consultation with the relevant devolved administration.”

They called on Greg Clarke to amend the bill to “remove the power to amend matters within devolved competence”.

The Welsh Government have previously expressed concern that the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will contain broad provision relating to a range of devolved issues, including local government and planning.

Cynon Valley Labour MP Beth Winter said in June that the bill had “significant and very concerning implications for my country of Wales”.

“This is another centralising Bill, handing powers to the Westminster Secretary of State, and it certainly is not resulting in more funding for Wales,” she said.

“The Welsh Government have stated that the Welsh budget will be nearly £1 billion worse off by 2024 as a result of the UK Government’s so-called levelling-up programme—that is appalling—and it will allow the UK Government to sideline the Welsh Government by making spending decisions in areas under the Welsh Government’s control, such as transport and the environment.

“This is yet another example of Ministers at Westminster, with no understanding of the measure of need in different communities in Wales, bypassing the democratically elected devolved Government of Wales, resulting in more prosperous areas benefiting while more severely deprived communities such as mine are excluded. It flies in the face of any democratic measures or recognition of the reality of devolution.”


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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have to work closer together to defend their status as devolved countries and even their future nationhood. I believe the three countries should go even further – aim to support each other 100% in leaving the Union. It’s the only way forward. The English nationalist UK government is out to scrap devolution, if it suceeds it will be a disaster for our countries.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

You’re not wrong, and it’s moves like this that show quite clearly what the Westminster cabal is up to. It’s a bit like when they tell you they’re not privatising the NHS, yet everything they do tells you the exact opposite.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

The Senedd might look to the Silures for a little inspiration and backbone…

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

The thieving, lying, oppressing, corrupt, dirty-minded, money worshipping, Cymru hating, children starving, arms dealing, war mongering, human rights abusing, concentration camp owning Tories will destroy Cymru IF we allow it. NOW is The Time. It is NOW that YOU and I must all get active and start rallying around our country, our Senedd. When it comes to the Tories and the Ways of Westminster ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Join a union, if there isn’t one recognised in your profession join Acorn, the housing union. The reason the Tories want “The UK” to remain is that that is where their power and… Read more »

Marc
Marc
1 month ago

The Tories intend to dismantle devolution brick by brick, hoping no one will notice. Independence is the only way to stop Westminster control of every aspect of Welsh life

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

“Work closely” they said, whilst imposing the internal market bill, as opposed to negotiating with the devolved Govs. They treat us as an irritation rather than people who should be negotiated with, or who’s opinion should count. Released today a statement by Truss, who wants to charge people to visit a doctor, and wants to abolish child allowance for all. Does anybody think if in power she will consult the devolved Govs over these, no, never, why, because they dont have to. But we do all benefit from being part if the DUK, of course.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

Yup. Let’s just leave their clutches. Don’t worry about referendums. Just leave

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Don’t waste time asking for fair treatment from London. Support independence. It’s all they respect.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

This fascist Conservative Government doesn’t respect the devolved nations now, so any promises made are a barefaced lies. This legislation cynically overwrites Welsh, Scottish & NI environmental protections laws and is a democratic outrage lie. It will not only facilitate fracking but allow more opencast mines and other ventures , especially in Wales. The irony us. Not long ago Boris Johnson was in Glasgow challenging the world to be more conscious of the damage done by fossil fuels in-between giving the greenlight to a new coal mine in Cumbria. You couldn’t make it up. He could though. A fine example… Read more »

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