No deal Brexit bad for environment, says expert

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June 27th, 2019

A no-deal Brexit would see any meaningful conversation around environmental policy completely abandoned, a British expert has said.

Speaking recently at an event in DCU about the implications of Brexit on the environment, Professor Charlotte Burns said that the risks of a no-deal Brexit including an “economic crash in the UK” would see environmental issues being removed from the policy agenda.

“All the focus will be on how to generate growth, how to deal with the economic impacts and we’ve seen this with recessions in the UK, Ireland and the EU in the past,” the University of Sheffield academic said.

“When recession happens, the willingness to talk about and take serious action on environmental policy just drops off the agenda,” she added.

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed TD said last week that Ireland may be forced to ask the EU for hundreds of millions of euros in economic aid if a no-deal Brexit were to happen.

Mr Creed maintained that the beef and fishing industries would be extremely hard hit and that Irish farmers would suffer along with many other industries.

A €100 million Brexit package has already been set aside and approved by the European Commission for Irish beef farmers.

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue TD stated this week that 50,000 to 55,000 jobs would be lost if a no-deal Brexit was to happen.

He also maintained that tax-cuts would be ruled out for at least the next year but that they may still be possible throughout the course of the next elected government.

As it stands, Britain is the Republic of Ireland’s largest EU trading partner and accounted for 24 per cent of our imports and 11 per cent of our exports in March 2019.

The Green Trend

Prof Burns said that the rise and fall in relation to people caring about the environment is normal and that the “peak” we’re seeing at the moment is due to several things coming together at once.

Burns said that the current “trend” in climate issues has a lot to do with the most recent IPCC report, the global School Strikes for Climate and the Extinction Rebellion protests.

“The opportunity is there now to try and get something done so it’s great that today we see the new Climate Action Plan launched [in Ireland]… it’s a window of opportunity now that needs to be pushed through, made meaningful and a bit tougher,” she said.

By Marianne Foody

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