MANY constituents have contacted me about environmental protections and the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, known of course as 'the Repeal Bill' - which will convert EU law into UK law.

I believe that leaving the EU must not lead to any watering down of existing standards on the environment. As readers know, I’m utterly opposed to the reckless hard Brexit the Government is pursuing, and in a recent vote I opposed the Bill in its entirety for a number of reasons - one of which is its failure on this issue. I’m joining cross party colleagues in trying to amend the Bill in this area.

The UK Government has said this Bill will mean ‘the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law’. However I’m concerned that the Repeal Bill, as currently drafted, lacks clear enforcement mechanisms and will not go far enough to ensure UK environmental standards keep pace with the EU after we leave.

It’s also the case that environmental policy is devolved to Wales and I’m particularly concerned that the Repeal Bill represents a significant challenge to the devolution settlement. As currently drafted, the bill would amend the devolution legislation to put in place - with no limitations or qualifications - new constraints on the Welsh Assembly's ability to legislate effectively, even after Brexit, on matters where the Assembly currently operates within legislative frameworks developed by the EU.

Existing EU law in areas such as the environment would be frozen, and only the UK Parliament would, it appears, be allowed to unfreeze it. I’m concerned this is an attempt by the UK Government to take back control over devolved policy areas such as the environment, agriculture and fisheries - not just from Brussels, but from Cardiff.

I don’t agree with this approach and believe there should be a 'presumption of devolution' where devolved powers transferred from the EU go straight to the relevant nation - in our case, Wales. I assure you I will press for the devolution settlement to be respected, and will resist any attempt by the UK Government to claw back devolved powers.

I agree with the Welsh Government that following Brexit, we must uphold existing environmental standards, to avoid significant risk to the public, our future environment and the Welsh economy. I’m pleased the Welsh Government is committed to environmental protections that have been secured through EU membership, and is clear these protections must not be undermined after leaving the EU.