Environment Secretary Michael Gove was the keynote speaker at Prosperity UK’s Green Brexit Conference held at County Hall. With attendees ranging from campaigning organisations, farmers and politicians from across the political spectrum, including Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith, the event sought to explore the opportunities for the environment when the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019.
Zac was on a panel with the chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard-Boyd; Amy Mount from Greener UK, Craig Bennett from Friends of the Earth, and Labour MP and fellow environmentalist Kerry McCarthy, discussing what Brexit could do to boost natural capital – that is, the air, water and soil all around us.
Praising the progress the Government has made so far on issues like banning microbead plastics and improving animal welfare standards in law, Zac highlighted the huge potential of Brexit and in particular the chance to replace the outdated and anti-green Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with a system of payments that reward landowners for delivering environmental and public goods rather than just for the amount of land they hold.
All the panellists commented on the amount of common ground between themselves and what Michael Gove himself had pledged during his own speech at the conference.