The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the UK Parliament’s House of Lords will today (9 November 2016) hear evidence from businesses and experts as part of a short inquiry on environment and climate change policy after the UK leaves the European Union following national vote to leave the EU in June.

Although the UK will continue to share its physical environment with the EU after Brexit, it will no longer have a formal role in the discussions and structures which govern environmental management. This will affect not only the legislation that the UK will be subject to, but also the approach of UK businesses to environmental standards and climate change action.

The Lords committee will explore the interests of UK businesses and industry with regard to environment and climate change policy after Brexit. It particularly hopes to ascertain the level of interaction with the EU that may be be needed in future concerning environmental standards.

The Committee will also explore the environmental impact of being inside or outside the single market, the extent of the UK’s reliance on access to EU research and funding, and what relationships the UK should pursue to ensure environmental protection.

Among those business experts who are to be consulted are: Finella Elliott, Climate and Environment Policy Advisor at EEF, The Manufacturers' Organisation; Steve Elliott, Chief Executive Officer of the Chemical Industries Association; and Dan Lewis, Infrastructure Policy Advisor at the Institute of Directors.

Chaired by former Liberal Democrat MEP Lord Teverson, the Sub-Committee seeks to ascertain from the business representatives what they think the UK’s future relationship with the EU will look like with regard to environment and climate change policy. They will also wish to gauge opinion on the business benefits of aligning UK with EU environmental policy or, conversely, adopting different environmental standards to the EU. The Committee is also likely to ask the business leaders whether they expect the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to affect policy stability and seek their opinion on whether it would help or hinder to have environmental standards encoded into trade agreements with the EU.

The Committee is also to quiz environmental leaders, including Michael Jacobs, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research and Douglas Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace, on what they think the UK's strategic priorities should be with regard to working with and influencing the EU on environmental or climate issues in future. This could include how policy options might differ if the UK was inside or outside the single market.

The inquiry is also likely to discuss the UK’s reliance on EU funding (for example from the European Investment Bank) for its environmental protection and climate change mitigation or adaptation measures.

Taken as a whole, this series of coordinated short inquires by the House of Lords EU Committee and its six Sub-Committees into the key issues of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations is the most extensive and thorough parliamentary scrutiny being undertaken to date. The committees are expected to complete the programme of work in early 2017, ahead of the Government’s potential triggering Article 50 of the EU Treaty, which would signal the start of the formal negotiations on UK withdrawal from the EU.