UK Politics

Local elections: Greens warn of Brexit 'environment threat'

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Media captionGreen Party attacks 'extreme Brexit' at local election campaign launch

Brexit poses an "unprecedented" threat to laws protecting the environment, the Green Party is to warn at the launch of its local election campaign.

Co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: "These laws protect our air, water and climate and they affect everyone in the UK who values our natural world."

He wants a new Environmental Protection Act to replace EU legislation.

The government says EU environmental protection rules will be copied across into UK law to ensure continuity.

But environmental campaigners fear the government will start scrapping them after Britain's exit from the EU to cut red tape.

Mr Bartley, who co-leads the Green Party of England and Wales with MP Caroline Lucas, said: "Brexit is an unprecedented threat to the environment and puts 40 years of legislation at risk."

More than 90% of people in the UK live within 20km (12 miles) of a site protected under the EU's nature laws, according to research by conservationists.

Mr Bartley also promised to oppose cuts to local services, as he launched his party's campaign with a speech in Worcester.

"The Green Party is the only party fighting both an extreme Brexit and Tory government cuts, protecting public services locally while strengthening relationships internationally," said Mr Bartley.

US air strikes

The party has also responded to US missile strikes on Syria, saying they risked "exacerbating an already complex situation in the absence of any coherent strategy to contain the violence and in the longer term".

Co-leader Caroline Lucas said: "It is deeply concerning that President Trump took this action without the permission of Congress and it is now of the utmost importance that Prime Minister Theresa May calls on him to help build some kind of international consensus around what happens next."

The Scottish Green Party is due to launch its local election campaign next Tuesday in Glasgow, with a manifesto for local government.

The Greens in Scotland are looking to build on existing councillor numbers in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeenshire, Midlothian and Stirling.

They are also aiming to elect the party's first councillors in many of the remaining 27 local authorities in Scotland.

The Greens are fielding a record number of candidates at the 4 May polls, with 1,561 standing across England, Scotland and Wales.

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