Fears that Britain will stop addressing climate change seriously after Brexit are unfounded and unfair, a senior MEP says.

The assurance came from Anthea McIntyre MEP, Conservative environment spokesman, as the European Parliament's Environment Committee debated its response to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The West Midlands MEP said the UK remained a front runner in the area of climate action and much could be learnt from its regulatory practices as well as the EU's.

The UK began the world's first large scale application of emissions trading to greenhouse gases in 2002, significantly ahead of the EU ETS in 2005. And it had been an important driver for reforms of the EU ETS to establish a competitive carbon price.

She continued: "In June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to adopt legislation to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

"And this law rests on firm foundations. UK emissions have been progressively falling since our Climate Change Act entered into force on 1st January 2008. In 2018, the UK’s emissions were 44 percent below 1990 levels, while our economy grew by two-thirds over the same period.

"As these accomplishments attest, the UK will continue to be a reliable and valued partner for mutual learning as both parties incentivise the roll-out of green technologies and put their economies on a path to decarbonisation.

"Looking to the future, I really hope that the EU will adopt a science-based, evidence-based approach to policy making. It is something I have championed for the eight years I have been an MEP and it has never been more important than it is today. 

"There is much good to be gained from new technologies such as GM and gene-editing in plant development and I really hope the EU will look at the evidence and support these methods of plant production. 

"This is something the UK will be free to pursue. So, instead of french farmers buying their GM animal feed from across the Atlantic, perhaps in future they will buy it from across the Channel."