COP26: the international climate change conference, Glasgow, UK

A Library Briefing Paper on COP 26. This paper covers the lead up to the conference; the Government’s ongoing preparations for COP 26; and key Parliamentary scrutiny and stakeholder commentary. Information on other key international conferences on biodiversity and oceans is also included. It will be updated periodically to reflect developments throughout 2020/21. …

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Plastic Bags – The single use carrier bag charge

This Commons Library briefing paper provides information on the single use carrier bag charge in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, examines the legal basis for the charge, the exemptions and what will be done with the proceeds of the charge. It also examines the impact of the charges to date.…

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Shale gas and fracking

A House of Commons Library Briefing Paper providing an overview of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for shale in the UK, including the latest UK Government moratorium for England, the approach in the devolved Administrations, the regulatory regime (petroleum exploration and development licences, environmental, planning, health and safety), and information on seismic events.…

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The UK-EU future relationship negotiations: Level playing field

The so-called level playing field – rules on competition, state aid, taxation, labour and environmental standards, and climate change – are one of the main causes of disagreement between the UK and EU in the negotiations on their future relationship. This paper explains the commitments that both parties are proposing in these areas in order to come to a deal.…

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Commons Library analysis of the Environment Bill 2019-20

A Commons Library analysis of the Environment Bill 2019-20. The Bill was given its first reading on 30 January 2020 and passed its second reading without division on 26 February 2020. Committee stage started on 10 March 2020 but was adjourned on 19 March due to the impact of Coronavirus. The Public Bill Committee is suspended until a time and date to be fixed by the Chair of the committee. …

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Commons Library Analysis of the Environment Bill 2019

The Environment Bill 2019 was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 14 October 2019. First Reading was on 15 October 2019. This briefing paper sets out the background to the Bill, reaction to it and its main provisions. This Bill fell at dissolution prior to the General Election in 2019 and is no longer current. …

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Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations

The UK and EU agreed a revised Political Declaration on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship on 17 October. This Briefing provides an outline of the contents of the Declaration and the key changes in the revised text …

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The October 2019 EU UK Withdrawal Agreement

Boris Johnson’s Government have negotiated a new ‘deal’ with the European Union. It is formed of a Political Declaration and a Withdrawal Agreement. This paper focuses on the Withdrawal Agreement and how it compares to the one negotiated by Theresa May’s Government in November 2018.

The main differences are in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland or the ‘backstop’ as it is commonly known. It contains very different arrangements, the UK will no longer be in a single customs territory or union with the EU. The UK will no longer be legally bound to continue with level playing field commitments at the end of the transition period.

Northern Ireland will still be in the UK’s customs territory and VAT area, however, the region will align with the EU’s rules in these areas. Northern Ireland will remain mostly aligned to the EU’s regulations for goods. Four years after the end of the transition period Northern Ireland’s democratic institutions will vote on whether they wish to continue the arrangements in the Protocol.…

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