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Environmental groups launch court challenge to Brexit regulation over wildlife risk

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Two environmental groups have launched a High Court challenge to the UK government’s Brexit laws, over sweeping new powers that may weaken protection for seas and wildlife in the UK.

ClientEarth and the Marine Conservation Society, working with lawyers at Leigh Day Solicitors, are challenging a decision of the UK Government made under the EU Withdrawal Act, which they say is an unlawful misuse of Brexit powers.

The measures which the government has introduced, behind the scenes, put seals, otters, dolphins and seabirds and many other vulnerable animals, plants and precious sites around the UK, at risk.

The legal challenge focuses on new powers that will allow ministers to alter and reduce standards for protected sites – which will fundamentally change how the law operates in the UK.

If the change was allowed to happen, the groups argue, it would be a total breach of the UK government’s promises of a “green Brexit” and repeated assurances that only technical changes would be made to modify our laws under the Act.

ClientEarth UK law and policy advisor Dr Tom West said: “The UK government has repeatedly promised that the environment would be safeguarded after Brexit. So, it is extremely concerning that the government has quietly and unlawfully introduced sweeping new powers behind the scenes that weaken environmental protection.

“Quite rightly the public has been concerned by the use of so-called Henry VIII powers that give too much discretion to ministers to make new laws, with little scrutiny from parliament, the public or civil society.

Marine Conservation Society CEO Sandy Luk said: “Whatever you think of Brexit, the government must keep its promise to the UK public that its seas, countryside and wildlife will not be worse off if EU protections are no longer in place.

“The management of marine protected areas is not strong enough under current legislation and allowing these changes will mean weaker protections for vulnerable species and habitats. We could even see the possibility of protected areas being abolished after Brexit. 

“We cannot allow hard-won ocean protections, which will safeguard future generations and marine wildlife such as treasured dolphins and seabirds, to be lost or watered down.”

Specifically, the charities are challenging the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) over parts of a statutory instrument, made under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018, which change the existing regulation of habitat and species conservation.

Defra’s changes include potential alterations to the obligation to manage recognised conservation sites, and potential limits to the types of areas set aside to protect marine animals that range over wide areas.

Defra has created 122 statutory instruments under the Act, which will replace EU laws after Brexit, and more than 500 have been submitted by other government departments.

Dr West added: “This legal challenge focuses on the unlawful nature of just one of the hundreds of pieces of legislation that government departments have quietly been rewriting with little or no scrutiny.”

“We fear that without improved scrutiny, we will continue to see the government using its powers in this way.”

For more information about the work of the Marine Conservation Society visit their website by clicking here.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Take an immersive dive below the waves off the Welsh coast using 360 VR: Common Spider Crab (Watch Video)

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A week-long series from Jake Davies…

Below the waves off the Welsh coast, there are a range of species and habitats that can be seen. However, you don’t have to venture too far from the shore to see them or don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Using 360 videos provides an immersive feeling of being below the water and encountering many species and habitats from diving one of the most important habitats and species that aren’t often seen whilst diving. For more of an experience of being below the waves, the VR videos can be viewed using a VR headset.

Take a VR dive just off the shore and explore what can be found within the shallow waters of a sandy beach. Fish can be founding cruising amongst the seaweed and numerous crustacean (Crabs, lobster, prawns, shrimps) species can be found walking around the seafloor. Common Spider Crabs (Maja brachydactyla) are one of the largest crabs species found along the coast and during the early summer, they aggregate in large numbers to moult which allows them to grow.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Dive Training Blogs

Join Me On My Commute To Scuba Diving Key Largo! (Watch Video)

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Sunrise was so beautiful the other morning, I wanted to take a time lapse of my drive from home in South Miami to Key Largo before morning dives with Horizon Divers.

I thought you might enjoy taking the ride with me! Silly I know! But here’s 2 minutes of chill!

D.S.D.O,

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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