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Inquiry Launch: Environment and the Level Playing Field

15 June 2020

The House of Lords EU Environment Sub-Committee has launched a new short inquiry to explore what is at stake on the environmental and climate level playing field in the UK-EU future relationship negotiations.

The idea behind a 'level playing field' is that because production costs are affected by environment and climate change policies (among others), a trading agreement needs to include commitments to ensure that those policies do not lead to unfair competition.


What should be included in the UK-EU level playing field provisions has been one of the main stumbling blocks in the future relationship negotiations. In conducting this inquiry, the Committee aims to shed light on what is at stake in the negotiations and point towards the kinds of environment and climate provisions that the UK and EU may both be able to accept.

Focus of Inquiry

  • What objectives should inform the environment and climate level playing field provisions: the rationales underpinning the two parties' negotiating positions, the benefits of flexibility for the UK, and the market access that could be secured or lost as a result of what is agreed (or not) on the level playing field?
  • How the level playing field provisions could be constructed: whether they are based on non-regression, international standards, or equivalence, how they will be enforced, and if there are helpful precedents or creative proposals that the negotiators should be considering?

The Committee will be holding two virtual evidence sessions with relevant stakeholders (including industry and environmental group representatives, and environment and climate law experts) to explore those issues in late June.

The Committee will put any concerns arising from this inquiry to Defra Ministers before the summer recess.

Further information