Scotland EU Continuity Bill (Scotland 1st Jan 2021)

On 18 June 2020, the Scottish Government introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. Details are here.

The purpose of the Bill is to:

a. enable the Scottish Ministers to make provision in secondary legislation to allow Scots law to be able to ‘keep pace’ with EU law in devolved areas, where appropriate;

b. ensure that there continue to be guiding principles on the environment in Scotland;

c. establish an environmental governance body, Environmental Standards Scotland;

[The UK Environment Bill at Westminster seeks to establish, amongst other matters, an environmental governance body, the Office for Environmental Protection, in England]

d. continue the role and functions of the European institutions in ensuring the complete and effective implementation of environmental law.

Environment is a devolved area.

In the Scottish Parliament, the Finance and Constitution Committee (FCC) is the lead Committee for considering this Bill and focuses on the constitutional aspects of the Bill. 

The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLRC) is a secondary committee and focuses on the environmental policy aspects of the Bill. 

The FCC is currently conducting a consultation (ends 7th August 2020). This seeks views on questions – including –

The policy memorandum states that “the Scottish Government considers it necessary to give Scottish Ministers the power to ensure that Scotland’s laws may keep pace with changes to EU law, where appropriate and practicable.”

The Committee would welcome your views on how wide-ranging this power is likely to be given the following statutory and non-statutory constraints –

* Compliance with UK international obligations including future trade deals and other international agreements;

* Statutory and non-statutory common frameworks;

* The functioning of a UK internal market;

* The replacement of EU funding.

More details are here.

The ECCLR has its own consultation (ends 31st July 2020). This seeks views on questions – including –

• The extent to which the proposals will address the governance issues arising from EU exit

• The limit of the obligations of ‘public authorities’ and the exclusions

• How the proposed model will align with that proposed for functions in the rest of the UK, and for reserved matters in Scotland, through the UK Environment Bill and any potential for gaps in the oversight arrangements; and the ability to co-operate and share data

More details are here.

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