Environmental governance in Scotland after Brexit: report

A study on the possible issues relating to future environmental governance in Scotland on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

7 Conclusions

7.1 This paper has identified a number of functions, notably in reporting, monitoring and enforcement, that are carried out through the EU machinery but will be lost on the UK's withdrawal. These are important for good governance in terms of transparency and accountability and for the proper functioning of Scottish authorities in fulfilling their environmental responsibilities. In deciding how, if at all, these should be replaced, some design issues arise. These do not require the same solution in every case and interim measures may be appropriate whilst more enduring arrangements are put in place:

  • the functions could be conferred on a ministerial advisory body, on a parliamentary body, or on existing bodies given expanded remits, or on a new body;
  • to be effective and achieve public confidence, any such body must have independence from government and the regulatory bodies, must have the expertise and capacity to do its work, must have a guarantee of the resources necessary for its role and must have the powers required to fulfil its tasks;
  • there must be effective ways for citizens (or national/local associations of citizens) to hold the government and other authorities to account for failing to meet their commitments and obligations, but these can focus on public reporting, parliamentary accountability or reference to the courts (which in turn raises the questions of at whose instigation, to which court(s) and leading to what remedies).


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