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The UK had safe water. Then Brexit allowed the Tories to flush away our environmental standards

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Sep 08 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Nature · Water · Environmental Sustainability

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: This week, politicians reignited debates around nutrient neutrality, a policy aimed at safeguarding water sources from harmful substances like phosphates and nitrates, which can lead to waterways choking with algae and chemical imbalance in the water sources
• Despite these concerns, the government appears to favor reducing environmental standards for development for key contributors like sewage discharges, farming, and development

🔭 The context: Post-Brexit, the UK adopted the “conservation of habitats and species regulations” from retained EU law (REUL) to counteract water contamination and directing local authorities to prevent developments that might cause water pollution
• Recent proposals suggest removing these nutrient neutrality rules, potentially greenlighting around 100,000 new homes at the expense of water safety

🌎 Why it matters for the planet: Dismissing these regulations could speed up environmental harm according to environmental entities like RSPB and The Wildlife Trust who have voiced their grave apprehensions, citing the UK's already dwindling water quality standards
• With the government's pro-development stance, various natural habitats, especially avian, could be at risk

⏭️ What's next: These contentious changes are due for discussion in the House of Lords in the upcoming week
• Under the REUL legislation's authority, there's growing anxiety about other environmental protections that might be compromised

💬 One quote: "The UK is already one of the worst countries for water quality in Europe" (The Wildlife Trust)

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