Post-Brexit wildlife protection powers ‘unlawful’, claim green groups

New regulations governing the status of conservation areas are an “unlawful misuse” of the government’s Brexit powers, according to a new legal challenge.

ClientEarth and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), working alongside solicitors Leigh Day, say that ministers would be able to lower protection for wildlife under new EU Exit regulations. Seals, otters, dolphins and seabirds could be at risk, they argue – breaching the government’s promise of a green Brexit.

The two pieces of legislation in question were made under the so-called ‘Henry VIII’ powers available under the EU (Withdrawal) Act, which should allow for only technical adaptations to be made to EU law. But the groups argue that two regulations, one covering England and Wales and the other Northern Ireland, make important changes to policy.

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