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Green campaigners warn of post-Brexit ‘race to the bottom’

Climate change

Environmental campaigners are calling on the government not to water down legislation on climate change and wildlife protection when the UK leaves the EU.

Ministers have repeatedly promised to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. But recently photographed documents, featured in media reports, show the UK government is considering scaling back some its international work on climate change and illegal wildlife trade to clear the way for post-Brexit trade deals.

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, 11 organisations expressed “increasing alarm” and called on the UK to deliver on its promises for the environment and honour international commitments.

"In doing so we will help build a greener, better and more prosperous future for everyone, rather than driving an environmental race to the bottom." The group, which includes WWF, Greenpeace, RSPB, CAFOD and Friends of the Earth, accuses the government of “dragging its feet” on key environmental consultations and forthcoming legislation. A Clean Growth Plan to cut carbon emissions, which was meant to be published last month, and the 25-Year Environment Plan, which was supposed to appear last summer, have both been delayed. Delays have also hit water legislation and a consultation on the ivory trade.

The group points to last year’s State of Nature report, which found more than half of the UK’s wildlife is in decline. It also cites recent research by the Royal College of Physicians that suggested about 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are attributable to air pollution.


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