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Government looks set to rethink Brexit Bill's ‘missing’ EU protections after Angling Trust pressure


Sue Hayman and Martin Salter x550px
Angling Trust Campaign Chief Martin Salter presents Sue Hayman MP, Labour's Shadow Environment Secretary, with her copy of the Fishing Lines briefing

Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter was up in Parliament this week pressing MPs of all parties to get behind moves to reinstate the ‘missing’ environmental protections in the government’s Brexit Bill that are so vital for fish and wildlife. There are some signs that the pressure is paying off.

Martin held meetings with Conservative MPs Charles Walker, Scott Mann and Richard Benyon from the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group as well as Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman. The Angling Trust is pushing to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill to include key environmental protections like ‘polluter pays’ and the ‘precautionary principle’ which have been omitted.

Martin Salter said:

“At the moment we have a complete reversal of the government’s previous commitment to enshrine current EU environmental protections into UK law as part of the Brexit process. The precautionary principle sets a benchmark to guide both policy and development proposals from doing harm to the environment whilst polluter pays is a vital deterrent to those who would seek to damage our rivers, streams and estuaries and the fish and wildlife they support."

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd added:

“The precautionary and polluter-pays principles are fundamental pillars of a legal structure which has protected the environment from damage on countless occasions over the decades. It is unthinkable that a government which claims to want to be the first to leave the environment in a better state for the next generation could consider ditching these vital protections. If we are to achieve this ambitious objective, we should be strengthening environmental laws, rather than undermining their very foundations.”

On Thursday, in answer to a Parliamentary Question from Sue Hayman MP, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove appeared to signal a government rethink saying:

“…there have been welcome environmental protections, which we have helped to develop while we have been in the EU. I want to work with her, as I am working with others, to ensure that people can guarantee that the protections that they value stay in place.”

Charles Walker MP has sent a strongly worded letter backing the Angling Trust’s stance and a special Fishing Lines briefing covering this and other fisheries issues is being mailed out to MPs this week.

The Angling Trust will continue to work with other organisations including Greener UK and the Blueprint for Water Coalition to ensure that both the precautionary and polluter-pays principles are retained to protect fish and wildlife.

Download a copy of Fishing Lines - the Angling Trust's Parliamentary Briefing

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