Gove Must Provide Clarity on New Environment Watchdog

Publication Date: 13th November 2017

Subject: Environmental protection

Following the announcement from the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP, that the Government will look to create a new environment watchdog following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has welcomed the move but called on Mr Gove to provide clarity on how the watchdog will operate.

Yesterday, Michael Gove outlined plans to bring in a new watchdog that will protect UK wildlife, land, water, and air, once the UK has left the EU. The Secretary of State said that the watchdog would be independent of government and able to hold ministers to account.

Mr Gove has been attempting to allay fears that Britain’s departure from the EU will see environmental regulations lowered in the UK, and has pledged the Government to deliver a “green Brexit”, highlighting the opportunity to bring in higher standards than currently enforced within the EU.

Responding to the news, Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH said:

“This is a positive step in the right direction, and we are glad to see that the Secretary of State recognises the need to not only protect the current environmental standards in the UK, but to improve on them.

However, there are a number of questions that need answering as a priority, and it is essential that Mr Gove provides some clarity.

Notably, what are the benefits over and above the current environmental watchdogs, such as the Environment Agency and Natural England? How will the new watchdog operate with local government? And, vitally, how will it work with the devolved regions?

These questions need to be answered.”


Notes to editors 

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH



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