UK NGOs warn of ‘race to bottom’ on Environmental standards

Environmental organisations from across the UK have today written to the Prime Minister setting out their concerns that the Internal Market Act (IMA), which was passed in 2020 following Brexit,  is adversely affecting environmental policy making.  

The letter was coordinated by APRS in the aftermath of the IMA being used to block Scotland’s deposit return system for drinks containers, an area which is fully devolved. Environmental Campaigners are concerned that the IMA will have a detrimental effect on environmental policy making, particularly in the devolved nations.

Prior to Brexit, the single market rules allowed most environmental and public health policies to go ahead in EU Nations and so policies such as deposit return would not have been affected. But the IMA has no such exemptions. There is a danger that the IMA is also having a chilling effect on policy makers in the devolved nations, where there are concerns that environmental legislation that impacts on sales of goods and services will be blocked by the Westminster Government using the IMA.

The signatories say that the uncertainty around how the IMA can be used and the lack of an official application process for an exemption is causing confusion, and that there is a risk that good new policies will not be proposed if they are thought to be subject to the IMA.

For Media enquiries

For Scottish enquiries call 0131 225 7012 and press 1 or email kat@aprs.scot

For Wales Environment Link Liz@waleslink.org

For Wildlife and Countryside Link ben@wcl.org.uk

Video Explainer by APRS and Reloop

More information and briefing on IMA

Since the deposit return scheme was affected by the Internal Market Act, we have been spending some time getting our head round what this is and what it means for environmental legislation in the devolved nations. This page summarizes what we have discovered and why this is important to anyone interested in improving environmental policy making in the UK.

Read the full letter

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