I have welcomed government plans to consult on a new independent body to uphold environmental standards in England after Brexit.
Groups and campaigners will get a chance to frame a world-leading statutory organisation to give the environment a voice and hold organisations that pollute or harm the environment to account.
What this announcement means is that the Government is committed to the very best environmental standards after Brexit and it will also allow us to make the best use of existing EU law and then improve on it.
Longer term, it will do much to make the UK the home to centres of environmental excellence ensuring we deliver the sort of improvements that will make a real difference to our country and its wildlife.
This is an area very close to my heart as I continue to lobby for Beachy Head East to be designated a Marine Conservation Zone.
Leaving the EU is an opportunity for us to look at exactly this sort of issue and work on ways to improve our standards. EU environment policy has been good in some ways but harmful to our environment in others such as the common agricultural and fisheries policies. I welcome the consultation and I hope everyone will consider contributing to it.
Currently UK environmental decisions, such as improving air and water quality to protecting endangered species, are overseen by the European Commission, but this will end in 2019 when the UK leaves the European Union.
The proposed consultation will look at the precise functions, remit and powers of the new body and will also explore the scope and content of a new policy statement to ensure environmental principles underpin policymaking.
The consultation, which was recently announced by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, is likely to start by early next year.