Can Defra cope?
At yesterday's Lords committee meeting, I was asked if government needed to be more proactive in identifying regulations that could be abolished or modified after Brexit. My response was, in effect, that Defra had been hollowed out so much, I doubt whether it had the capacity.
This view is confirmed by the latest Whitehall Monitor published by the Institute for Government: Whitehall Monitor
It points out that Defra has estimated that around a quarter of EU laws (around 1,200) relate to its work, and that 80 per cent of the department's work is 'framed' by EU legislation. But staff levels have fallen by a third since 2010.
It also notes that Defra has had relatively little recent legislative experience, its responsibilities since 2010/11 being limited to two Government bills that became law.