The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be asked if they want to join a new environmental regulator set up to hold Government to account after Brexit.
In November, environment secretary Michael Gove announced an independent body to oversee environmental standards in England.
A consultation will be held “early this year” on the new body’s remit and functions. But there are as yet no details on the powers it will have, when it will be set up or how it will work with the existing environment agencies in England and other UK nations.
Speaking at the House of Lords, Defra minister Lord Gardiner (pictured) said the Government would welcome collaboration with the devolved administrations on the enforcement agency.
He said: “We want to explore whether Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland wish to take a different or a similar approach on this matter.
“If they wish to join what will be an English body, we would be pleased. On the other hand, they may decide to take a somewhat different approach.”
He gave no further details on the powers the new body would have, but added: “We want to proceed with this because we think Government and public bodies should be held to account.
“We have existing frameworks, regulators, judicial review processes and Parliament ensuring that the Executive are accountable to them and, ultimately, to the electorate.
“This is an important matter, and we are going to consult widely. We have not ruled anything in or out.”