Scotland’s Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham has confirmed that the precautionary principles that inform EU environmental policy are at the heart of Scottish policy-making.
Speaking in Edinburgh at the annual conference of the European Environment Bureau Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform said: “The creation of a European Union has been about recognising shared values that bring us together across national boundaries. A robust and effective approach to protecting our environment has proved, for many of us, to be one of those key shared values.
“So, my ambition is to carry through not just the letter of EU environmental law but also the underlying principles of precaution, prevention and rectifying pollution at source, as well as the ‘polluter pays’ principle. Not doing so means we risk lagging behind and diverging from the ambitions of our European allies, as well as missing key tools that can help us to meet international ambitions such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
“My ambition is to carry through not just the letter of EU environmental law but also the underlying principles of precaution, prevention and rectifying pollution at source, as well as the ‘polluter pays’ principle.”
Ms Cunningham is urging UK Ministers to support these principles and seek to clarify their approach to preserving them.
“Today’s statement by the Cabinet Secretary is warmly welcomed by our members,” said Helen Todd, Chair of Scottish Environment LINK.
“It is testament to the Scottish Government’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and helps address one of the risks of Brexit – namely, that internationally recognised principles of environmental law enshrined in EU treaties will no longer apply once the UK exits the EU.
“Of course, actions speak louder than words and so we look forward to the Scottish Government providing further certainty regarding the future of these important international principles in Scotland.”
Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of European Environmental Bureau said: “We strongly welcome the commitment of the Cabinet Secretary today to preserving not only EU environmental law but also the principles which underpin them. Our commitment has always been to securing the highest standards of environmental protection in Scotland and across Europe. We know that Brexit challenges this and we are heartened that leaders in Scotland are working to preserve these hard-fought protections and stop a race to the bottom”.
Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment organisations. Its 35 members, including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, share a common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society.