Appendix 7: Chapter 7, Q5
Comments on monitoring, measuring and reporting
There were fifteen comments in relation to monitoring, measuring and reporting.
- Three respondents discussed the need for collaboration and joint working to ensure, post EU exit, the sharing and comparison of data can continue
- There was one comment indicating support for the SG's commitment to review
- A suggestion undertaking a scoping study to understand what is currently monitored/measured/reported
- Support for the establishment of a counterpart to the Office for Environmental Protection to provide necessary capacity for monitoring, measuring and reporting
- A call for existing institutional and individual capabilities for monitoring and reporting to be maintained, and that existing bodies, such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and SG agencies could undertake this role
- Discussion of the importance of investing in new technology to allow real-time data provision as a tool for providing effective monitoring
- A suggestion that the SG continue with existing approaches, with examples which have been signposted to the SG for consideration
- An indication of concern that withdrawal from the EU may affect environmental outcomes and market access to the EU
- A detailed response with a list of suggestions for mitigation
- Discussion of the need for consistent data comparison to avoid unnecessary resource (bureaucracy and expense)
- Notes on the risk of the formation of environmental legislation in Scotland being derived from EU data to which Scotland has not contributed
- A point that environmental issues are global and therefore data sharing should sit outside of European Control
- There was a suggestion that requiring Member States to report on environmental policy implementation to the EU was an important vehicle for policy learning and improvement. This respondent described a fear that loss of data comparison 'could result in a 'race to the bottom' where jurisdictions legislate for the minimum environmental standards in response to trade negotiations, potentially manifesting in 'pollution tourism' whereby waste is dumped in areas with lower environmental standards for economic gain.
Reduced transparency and accountability
Singular comments in relation to reduced transparency and accountability are listed below.
- A suggestion that regular reports to the Commission on the ability to deliver against targets should be provided by the UK Government and that these should be available to the public ensuring all bodies, groups and governments are held accountable
- One respondent mentioned Article 5 of the Aarhus Convention and the duty to actively disseminate environmental information, therefore requiring public bodies to actively disseminate information.
Specific examples shared in response to Question 5 are given below.
- The loss of engagement with the EU in relation to poor regulation of Scottish Paper Mills
- Cross-border issues, in particular loss of coordination in biosecurity - this respondent also raised the issue of restriction on volunteering on conservation reserves
- An expression of concern about Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) biosecurity and management actions, asking how these will function across UK countries and EU trading partners post EU exit
- Intensive farming in agricultural sectors, noting these have a higher monitoring requirement due to the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control regime (IPPC) and that clarity in this sector is required.
Loss of funding
Comments on a loss of funding included:
- concern about accessing EU Funded programmes, citing Horizon Europe as an example; and
- the identification of an issue specifically regarding the marine environment and a suggestion that EU exit should not justify reduced resources in relation to monitoring the marine and coastal environment.
References to the Roundtable on Environment and Climate Change
Other references to the Roundtable included:
- mention of one respondent's input into the Roundtable Report (suggesting loss of engagement will impact academic development, learning and practice quality);
- a reference to the Roundtable when explaining concern about losing the ability to benchmark performance against EU nations; and
- highlighting EU data sharing institutions for Scotland to maintain connections with.
Potential positive impacts of a loss of EU engagement were mentioned.
- There could be opportunities such as recognising other aspects of the environment e.g. culture and the historic environment, which could lead to a more holistic approach to monitoring, measuring and reporting
- A general supportive comment.