Scottish Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Mariam Mahmood has today called on both of Scotland’s government to commit to guaranteeing environmental protections will be at least as strong as current EU protections if the UK leaves the European Union, as a major environmental conference warned that Brexit could put the country's protected sites at risk.
In a speech to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) conference in Edinburgh, EEB Secretary General Jeremy Wates warned that Scotland stands to lose out on environmental standards post-Brexit, highlighted the vulnerability of the country’s protected sites.
Speaking from the conference, Ms Mahmood said:
“We can only prevent overfishing, protect our shared environment and ensure a level playing field for British farmers by working closely with our European neighbours.
“There is a real risk that Brexit is used as an excuse for stripping out environmental protections and reneging on our climate commitments. This would be failing at a generational challenge.
“That’s why both of Scotland’s governments should today guarantee that if the UK leaves the EU we will put in place environmental protections that are at least as strong as current EU ones, if not stronger.”
In a motion at the recent Liberal Democrat conference the party called for the creation of an Office for Environmental Responsibility that would ensure laws on air quality or the cleanliness of beaches are properly enforced.
The Liberal Democrats have also called for full cooperation to continue with EU institutions such as the European Environment Agency.
Other proposed measures including a Nature Act with legally binding targets for clean air, water and biodiversity, and a requirement for ministers to report annually to Parliament on the state of the UK’s environment.