This week, environment ministers from UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies raised concerns about the impact of Brexit and budget cuts on the environment.  

For many Overseas Territories, environmental protection and the impact of climate change are existential issues which will have serious implications for their populations in the future.  In the Cayman Islands, the importance of the environment has been reflected in the inclusion of a fundamental right to a healthy environment in their Constitution putting an obligation on the Government to develop policy that will protect the environment for future generations.

The House of Lords, in its report on the impact of Brexit on Crown Dependencies endorsed my concerns that the potential for the UK to remove environmental protections following Brexit could have serious implications for the health and wellbeing of populations in the Crown Dependencies.

There have been indications that post-Brexit policy on the environment will not continue to meet the current standards and the risks around the use of Henry VIII clauses in the Repeal Bill which will translate EU law into British law give cause for concern about future environmental protections.

The EU Charter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms gave us an explicit right to a healthy environment.  Recent litigation in the UK over the health impacts of air pollution in London has used EU environmental law, essentially to protect our human rights.  As the negotiations around Brexit continue after the General Election and the UK legislates for its future outside the EU, we should make sure that the standards, resources and legal frameworks for protecting the environment and combating climate change remain at least as strong as they are now.  If we don't, the human rights of future generations in the UK and across the World may suffer as a consequence.