Government Bill to remove EU retained laws branded ‘an attack on nature’ by Kent Wildlife Trust

Kent Wildlife Trust says areas including Pegwell and Sandwich reserve will be under threat

A bill to scrap retained EU laws so they can be replaced with domestic UK regulations has been branded ‘an attack on nature’ by the Kent Wildlife Trust.

The government’s plan to revoke post-Brexit regulations will see 570 laws surrounding habitat protection, water quality and sewage pollution removed in December 2023.

The Kent Wildlife Trust says this not only puts wildlife and public health at risk, but also reneges on the government’s pledge to halt the decline of nature by 2030.

The Bill, which was put before Parliament on September 22, aims to allow ministers to replace retained EU law with new domestic legislation and will see large parts of retained EU law ‘sunsetted’ in December 2023 – meaning it will be removed.

Retained EU law currently covers most aspects of UK law that were previously influenced by EU legislation, including environmental regulation, data protection, employment law, intellectual property, financial services and competition law.

Kent Wildlife Trust says the removal of the EU laws could mean 17 specially protected sites across the county lose their status, leaving them vulnerable to development.

The Trusts says the Thanet coast and Sandwich Bay may lose its protection, potentially devastating the populations of seals and rare and endangered birds that use the area as an important resting, breeding and feeding space after long migrations.

Seal at Pegwell Photo Keith Ross

Sites at risk of being downgraded include Oare Marshes in Faversham, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and frequented by Turtle Doves, Curlew Sandpipers and Spotted Redshanks.

In addition to the proposed changes to environmental laws, on September 23 the Chancellor published the Government’s Growth Plan, earmarking Kent County Council as one of 37 authorities being able to nominate investment zones in the county. If Kent is granted investment zone status, the Trust says it will allow developers to bypass environmental laws, further putting wildlife in jeopardy.

Kent Wildlife Trust is now asking for people to write to their MP to ask them to put a stop to the changes to legislation. People can also sign up to receive news and updates from the Trust.

Ham Fen Image Kent Wildlife Trust

Paul Hadaway, Director of Conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “To revoke much-needed legislation that protects wildlife is not only a backward step, reneging on promises made by this government, but also puts public health at risk. We simply cannot continue to ravage our natural world without realising it is our life support system.

“It is time to tell the government that their plans are a direct attack on nature, we do not want raw sewage and poisons pumped into our sea and they need to do more to protect wildlife and their habitats.

“We must give nature a voice and we need people to come together and demonstrate the sheer strength of feeling. We cannot do it alone – we need public support. This is about ensuring that we have a better future and that we can create an environment where we can survive. So please visit our website, download a template and write to your MP, as together, we can make a difference.”

Nature at Pegwell Photo Brian Whitehead

Chief Executive Officer for Kent Wildlife Trust, Evan Bowen-Jones, added: “Nature isn’t an optional extra it’s a must if people are going to thrive. Restoring nature and producing our food with less chemicals will help combat climate change, help our economy, and give our children a healthier future.

“We must not let this government take us backwards at this critical point in time, when we still have a chance to prevent irreversible damage to society.”

A template letter is available on Kent Wildlife Trust’s website.

Pegwell Photo Brian Whitehead

A government statement says: “Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law created at the end of the (Brexit) transition period and consists of EU-derived legislation that was preserved in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

“Retained EU Law was never intended to sit on the statute book indefinitely. The time is now right to end the special status of retained EU Law in the UK statute book on 31st December 2023.

“The Bill will abolish this special status and will enable the Government, via Parliament, to amend more easily, repeal and replace retained EU Law. The Bill will also include a sunset date by which all remaining retained EU Law will either be repealed, or assimilated into UK domestic law. The sunset may be extended for specified pieces of retained EU Law until 2026.

“The retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is part of the Government’s commitment to put the UK statute book on a more sustainable footing. By ending the special status of retained EU Law, we will reclaim the sovereignty of Parliament, and restore primacy to Acts of Parliament.

“The Bill will create powers to make secondary legislation so that retained EU law can be amended, repealed and replaced more easily. The Bill also takes powers to specify, after the sunset, the body of law that will continue to apply in place of retained EU law, and how it should be interpreted. Using these powers, the Government will ensure that only regulation that is fit for purpose, and suited for the UK will remain on the statute book.”

Investment zones

Kent County Council was named as one of 38 areas earmarked as an investment zone in Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget.

One of the aims is for accelerated development, meaning there will be designated development sites to release more land for housing and commercial development. The need for planning applications will be minimised and where planning applications remain necessary, they will be radically streamlined. Businesses in the designated sites will benefit from time-limited tax benefits.


  1. We had all these regulations in place before the EU the dictatorship that they are water companies are owned by French companies there are organisations in the UK who have been doing this for years protecting our oceans and rivers etc they said that about offshore wind farms never damaged wild life such as birds. A bit coincidental that elections are coming up.

  2. No surprise-any government that announces they are going back to fracking, votes against more penalties for Southern Sewage & the other mass polluters & puts climate change denier Mogg in charge of energy only care about money, not the planet.

  3. But but but, the UK government helped create and then approved of and supported all these ’EU laws’ while we were in the EU. And now the UK government have changed their mind on these laws that they once saw fit to support and approve? Such madness, just to placate the brexit voting minority (and no doubt find some way for the rich to make even more money out of the ensuing loss of or changes to these laws). For ‘sovereignty’ read greed and madness.

    • What do you mean the minority brexit voters did you not see the figures who voted to leave the EU is now falling apart as countries want out and fed up being dictatorship do you want more illegal people crossing the channel to take us over we faught two world wars to stop this happening the UK government’s at the time including all about had to do they are told Mrs thatcher stood up to them see what the EU lovers done to her.

      • How has leaving the EU stopped immigration as promised by the Tories who said the UK would take back its borders? The reality is this year already more have crossed than the entirety of 2022 & the Tories send out the RNLI to ferry them over.

        Just more Tory lies & nothing has changed in the nearly 3 years since, as was promised to the saps that believed conman Boris lies about investment in the NHS on the side of his buses-whatever did happen to that 350 million a week? Having control over our own laws, stopping migration etc.

      • OK Brian calm down, here are the Referendum figures to show only a minority of people voted to leave the EU: Total turnout was 72%. 52% voted to leave, so 52% of 72% = 37.4% voted to leave, right! Many people abstained because they didn’t know what they would vote for, and neither did the so called Brexiteers! No one knew what the Terms & Conditions were when they voted, and it was one big con!

        Remember Johnson swanning around in a bus that had leaving would mean £350 million a week would go to the NHS? Well that was one of Johnson’s many lies, because it didn’t happen. Instead Johnson cut NHS staff salaries by not giving them a pay increase to match inflation! Thats all the thanks NHS staff got, after saving Johnson’s life when he got Covid.

        Name one benefit we have received from leaving the EU? No you can’t, but there are plenty of reasons why we would be better off staying in. One is it would stop people coming here across the Channel in unseaworthy boats, because when we were in the EU they could be returned to the first EU country they entered! So if you want to stop people coming here over the Channel, then we should re-join the EU, and it would stop over night! I may have said some of this before, but its worth repeating!

      • Brian, are you ok mate? You seem to be peddling streams of consciousness not rooted in any form of obserable, objective reality? Since Brexit, we’ve financially f**ked it. Lowest growth out of all eu states. Their economies bounced back after COVID, ours, still in the dirt.

        We fought two world wars to stop immigration? Mate, you do know the role Churchill played in our current immigration stances, don’t you?

        You wouldn’t just be regurgitating stuff you’ve read in the Daily Express, Telegraph, GB News and social media feeds of the likes of Nigel Farage, Steve Laws and the “little veteran” n*bhead from dover, would you?

    • Bang on Ian!! People don’t seem to realise all EU laws, and regulations were approved by member states before they became law, or regulations! Now we have ultra right wing Tory nutters in power that were not elected by the nation, who are going to wreck the economy, and get rid of laws, and regulations so that their business friend can exploit! Welcome to the brave new 3rd World, bet they start cutting the trees down in the New Forest soon!

    • We have got to give nature a help because the world 🌎 have damaged it ,it’s time to get it back before it’s to late

    • Nature cannot look after itself because we have done so much damage & continue to. Do you honestly think that 35 degree summers for weeks on end, followed by winter in September is normal? It is up to us to look after the planet & we have & continue to fail abysmally.

      All the Tories can come up with is Fracking-which as has been shown is ineffective & dangerous/damaging to the environment & all of us & there will be even more protests blocking work than there was a decade back as there are more groups & more of society has come around since then.

      Once again it is about money for them & their rich friends running these companies, not about keeping the lights on, helping the planet or affordable energy.

    • ” nature will look after itself it always does.” which part of “nature” looking after itself (a process described by climate and environmental scientists not in months, but in thousands of year increments) involves heavily pollutin industries, the majority of which are less than 100 years old?

      Can you share your sources you’re using to show this is historically and empirically correct? Preferably taking into account PFOA and microplastics contamination of every drop of rainwater across the planet?

      I’ll wait…

  4. Not surprised, the tories will bring back fox hunting next ,tories have always been for themselves, never believe when they say they are going to help the poor ,tories always take from the poor and give to the rich, when will you all wake-up and see this .

  5. Fox hunting employed very few people. If landowners instead had managed woodland more effectively and coppicing for bio fuel or forestry products had been encouraged that would have created more jobs.
    You won’t help the poor by making their environment poor as well.It is not a zero sum game, as some allege.
    Out west, they won’t be receiving the dubious benefits of special economic area status.
    Watch out for more poor quality housing, poor infrastructure and haphazard planning in an extension of Westwood Cross.

  6. Oh come on! Give the government some leeway. They’ve got Brexit done, without anything useful to show for it. (Did Liz Truss come back from the States with a favourable trade deal? No. In fact, no deal at all)

    So cut Liz a bit of slack. Let her show how she’s making Britain “Great” again by scrapping all the laws that protect our wildlife, our countryside and our environment.
    After all, she won’t have time for much else. The vultures are already cirling

      • Did the big “successful” author bubba get his ickle hit of dopamine from pointing out a spelling mistake; that was easy to see to others, that they meant “circling”? How pathetic, Petey.

    • Don’t forget she like Boris wants to get rid of those pesky human rights as well. Because who needs them?

      Go back to the ‘good old days’ of being able to detain people in police stations for as long as you like with no evidence, give them a good kicking, put salt in their food, keep them awake all night, barrage them for days in unrecorded interviews until after denying it five thousand times they eventually confess & if they don’t just say they did anyway & take away their rights to legal representation.

  7. Since leaving the EU the quality of our water, sea and rivers have nosedived. Being in the EU meant having to abide with water quality laws or you would face horrendous fines. Ask Thames water, Northumbrian Water Severn Trent Water South West Water Southern Water.

    When we rejoin the EU…….if water is still privatised they will need to return to clean water within a few months. They will be targeted.

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