UCL Faculty of Laws


Prof Maria Lee gives evidence to parliamentary committee

14 June 2018

Prof Lee: environmental principles' wording needs to be strengthened in advance of EU exit

Headshot of Maria Lee

Professor Maria Lee on Tuesday acted as a witness during the select committee of the Environmental Principles and Governance Consultation in the House of Commons. 

The consultation addressed the development of an Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, which will mark the creation of a watchdog body to hold the government to account on environmental obligations following the UK's exit from the EU. 

Prof Lee said:

'The consultation's wording on environmental principles is too weak… There are two elements that need to be addressed. One is who the principles apply to: the principles should apply to all public bodies, not just to central government. The second is the how. [In the current wording] government could have regard to the environmental principles, conclude that they stop government from doing what they want to do, and simply not comply.

'My preference would be to see legislative language requiring all public bodies to act in accordance with the principles, but we could equally say to comply with the principles, to apply the principles. The principles are binding in EU law, so to fail to do that would be a big backwards step.'

Watch the video recording