Chapter seven : Environment and climate
Article 7.1: Definitions
1. For the purposes of this Chapter, “environmental levels of protection” means the levels of protection provided overall in a Party’s law which have the purpose of protecting the environment, including the prevention of a danger to human life or health from environmental impacts, including in each of the following areas:
(a) industrial emissions;
(b) air emissions and air quality;
(c) nature and biodiversity conservation;
(d) waste management;
(e) the protection and preservation of the aquatic environment;
(f) the protection and preservation of the marine environment;
(g) the prevention, reduction and elimination of risks to human health or the environment arising from the production, use, release or disposal of chemical substances; or
(h) the management of impacts on the environment from agricultural or food production, notably through the use of antibiotics and decontaminants.
2. For the Union, “environmental levels of protection” means environmental levels of protection that are applicable to and in, and are common to, all Member States.
3. For the purposes of this Chapter, “climate level of protection” means the level of protection with respect to emissions and removals of greenhouse gases and the phase-out of ozone depleting substances. With regard to greenhouse gases, this means:
(a) for the Union, the 40 % economy-wide 2030 target, including the Union’s system of carbon pricing;
(b) for the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom’s economy-wide share of this 2030 target, including the United Kingdom’s system of carbon pricing.
Article 7.2: Non-regression from levels of protection
1. The Parties affirm the right of each Party to set its policies and priorities in the areas covered by this Chapter, to determine the environmental levels of protection and climate level of protection it deems appropriate and to adopt or modify its law and policies in a manner consistent with each Party’s international commitments, including those under this Chapter.
2. A Party shall not weaken or reduce, in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties, its environmental levels of protection or its climate level of protection below the levels that are in place at the end of the transition period, including by failing to effectively enforce its environmental law or climate level of protection.
3. The Parties recognise that each Party retains the right to exercise reasonable discretion and to make bona fide decisions regarding the allocation of environmental enforcement resources with respect to other environmental law and climate policies determined to have higher priorities, provided that the exercise of that discretion, and those decisions, are not inconsistent with its obligations under this Chapter.
4. For the purposes of this Chapter, insofar as targets are provided for in a Party’s environmental law in the areas listed in Article 7.1 [Definitions], they are included in a Party’s environmental levels of protection at the end of the transition period. These targets include those whose attainment is envisaged for a date that is subsequent to the end of the transition period. This paragraph shall also apply to ozone depleting substances.
5. The Parties shall continue to strive to increase their respective environmental levels of protection or their respective climate level of protection referred to in this Chapter.
Article 7.3: Carbon pricing
1. Each Party shall have in place an effective system of carbon pricing as of 1 January 2021.
2. Each system shall cover greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, heat generation, industry and aviation.
3. The effectiveness of the Parties’ respective carbon pricing systems shall uphold the level of protection provided for by Article 7.2 [Non-regression from levels of protection]
4. By way of derogation from paragraph 2, aviation shall be included within two years at the latest, if not included already. The scope of the Union system of carbon pricing shall cover departing flights from the European Economic Area to the United Kingdom.
5. Each Party shall maintain their system of carbon pricing insofar as it is an effective tool for each Party in the fight against climate change and shall in any event uphold the level of protection provided for by Article 7.2 [Non-regression from levels of protection]
6. The Parties shall cooperate on carbon pricing. They shall give serious consideration to linking their respective carbon pricing systems in a way that preserves the integrity of these systems and provides for the possibility to increase their effectiveness.
Article 7.4: Environmental and climate principles
1. Taking into account the fact that the Union and the United Kingdom share a common biosphere in respect of cross-border pollution, each Party commits to respecting the internationally recognised environmental principles to which it has committed, such as in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, adopted at Rio de Janeiro on 14 June 1992 (the “1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”) and in multilateral environmental agreements, including in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, done at New York on 9 May 1992 (the “UNFCCC”) and the and the Convention on Biological Diversity, done at Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 (the “Convention on Biological Diversity”), in particular:
(a) the principle that environmental protection should be integrated into the making of policies, including through impact assessments;
(b) the principle of preventative action to avert environmental damage;
(c) the precautionary approach referred to in Article 1.2(2) [Right to regulate, precautionary approach and scientific and technical information];
(d) the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; and
(e) the polluter pays principle.
2. The Parties reaffirm their respective commitments to procedures for evaluating the likely impact of a proposed activity on the environment, and where specified projects, plans and programmes are likely to have significant environmental, including health, effects, this includes an environmental impact assessment or a strategic environmental assessment, as appropriate.
3. These procedures shall comprise, where appropriate and in accordance with a Party’s laws, the determination of the scope of an environmental report and its preparation, the carrying out of public participation and consultations and the taking into account of the environmental report and the results of the public participation and consultations in the consented project, or adopted plan or programme.
Article 7.5: Enforcement
1. For the purposes of enforcement as referred to in Article 7.2 [Non-regression from levels of protection], each Party shall, in accordance with its law, ensure that:
(a) domestic authorities competent to enforce the relevant law with regard to environment and climate give due consideration to alleged violations of such law that come to their attention; those authorities shall have adequate and effective remedies available to them, including injunctive relief as well as proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, if appropriate; and
(b) national administrative or judicial proceedings are available to natural and legal persons with a sufficient interest to bring actions against violations of such law and to seek effective remedies, including injunctive relief, and that the proceedings are not prohibitively costly and are conducted in a fair, equitable and transparent way.
Article 7.6: Cooperation on monitoring and enforcement
The Parties shall ensure that the European Commission and the supervisory bodies of the United Kingdom regularly meet with each other and co-operate on the effective monitoring and enforcement of the law with regard to environment and climate as referred to in Article 7.2 [Non-regression from levels of protection].
Article 7.7: Dispute settlement
1. The Parties shall make all efforts through dialogue, consultation, exchange of information and cooperation to address any disagreement on the application of this Chapter.
2. By way of derogation from Title I of Part Six [Dispute settlement and horizontal provisions], in the event of a dispute between the Parties regarding the application of this Chapter, the Parties shall have recourse exclusively to the procedures established under Articles 9.1 [Consultations], 9.2 [Panel of experts] and 9.3 [Panel of experts for non-regression areas] of this Title.