This month DEFRA published A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to improve the Environment. The report is presented as a national plan of action, but with international ambition. Conscious of the fact that when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, control of important areas of environmental policy will return to these shores, a clear expression of purpose is needed.
A Green Future articulates the direction over the next 25 years. DEFRA's plan is to set a long-term direction with flexibility to adapt to new evidence and circumstances.
From a legal perspective, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will ensure that the body of existing EU law, including environmental law, continues to hold sway in the UK. In due course DEFRA has made clear that it will be consulting on the development of a policy statement on environmental principles to underpin policy-making following UK's exit from the EU.
The Report makes reference to identifying areas to build upon the many benefits provided by EU environmental regulation, promising proper consultation before making changes. Alongside this, DEFRA has made clear that it remains committed to implementing within the UK those international agreements to which this country is a party and will continue to lead their application globally, working in partnership across the UK and internationally.
At this stage there is, perhaps understandably, little within the report by way of concrete plans. It is, however, a blueprint for future developments in this area and something that we will continue to follow closely.