The Prime Minister made the green promises as part of a speech on the UK’s future economic partnership with the EU.
She did not specifically name any new binding commitments, but reiterated the government had no intention of rolling back environmental protections.
“In areas like workers’ rights or the environment, the EU should be confident that we will not engage in a race to the bottom in the standards and protections we set,” she said.
“There is no serious political constituency in the UK which would support this – quite the opposite.”
Indeed, she made a commitment to ensure the relevant UK regulatory standards remain at least as high as the EU’s.
And further, the Prime Minister confirmed the UK would seek associate membership or close cooperation with a host of European agencies, including the European Chemicals Agency which governs the sweeping REACH regulations.
Similarly, May hinted the UK would explore continued close cooperation with the EU’s energy union and Euratom agency.
She concluded: “The UK has among the highest environmental and animal welfare standards of any nation on earth.
“As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage. And I fully expect that our standards will remain at least as high as the EU’s.”
Steve Gray, MD of CIS stated that “the announcements should give confidence and some clarity to business, the public sector and the sustainable industry in the UK that the government see ongoing environmental legislation and policy continuing to support action to lead behaviors and strategies to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies.”