Does Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan trash environmental protections?

Whatever the ultimate fate of Boris Johnson’s first stab at securing a withdrawal deal with the EU, it has at least drawn up clear battle lines over where environmental policy is heading under his premiership. If Brexit wasn’t about the environment when we voted in the referendum in 2016, it is now.

Point 4 of the Explanatory Note to the ‘UK Proposals for an Amended Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland’ is unequivocal – the previous protocol might have contained a list of “level playing field measures” that would apply during any transition period before a full deal was agreed, but the government no longer sees any requirement for them.

“Measures regarding open and fair competition are most appropriately discussed in the context of the UK-EU future relationship,” it says. Kick the can on environmental protection down the road, in other words. Don’t commit to anything. 

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