Thank you for your recent correspondence in which you asked me to sign amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill relating to environmental protections.
In June 2016 this country voted to leave the EU and that is what will happen in March 2019. The purpose of the EU Withdrawal Bill is to transfer all EU law to domestic law, so that we have a functioning statute book on the day we leave the EU. This will ensure the maximum amount of certainty, continuity and control for businesses and individuals. In some instances, such as concerning workers’ rights, existing UK law actually goes beyond the minimum requirements of EU law. It should therefore not be assumed that EU law is in any way 'better' than our own. Once EU legislation has been transferred to UK law, it will be within the power of Parliament to vote on any changes or amendments to that legislation. I am delighted that the UK will be getting this Sovereignty back.
The Government has been clear that all environmental protections will be guaranteed as the UK leaves the EU. I believe that environmental principles must continue to underpin policy as they do now. You may be aware that a consultation has been launched on these principles and how they should be incorporated into our law in the future. The consultation is open until the 2nd August 2018 and you may wish to respond to it at the following address: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eu/environmental-principles-and-governance/
Although the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will end, the Government will ensure that strong and effective governance arrangements are in place after the UK's exit from the EU. A new independent body will hold the Government to account and ensure that environmental standards are upheld. No decisions have yet been taken on the UK's future relationship with EU agencies including with the European Environment Agency, as this is a matter for the negotiations.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.