Did I hear it right? Johnson refused to come to a climate debate (the most important debate if you ask me, much more important than Brexit) and
Help me to understand the current status quo on climate change rules etc., in the EU are individual governments doing their own thing or do they have to follow the decisions made by the EU, I suspect the latter.
One of the reasons why some are saying Brexit will be a disaster and trade negotiations will take decades is because the UK has little technical expertise in these things, so for a local election, how important is the debate between local politicians on items that are being decided by the EU?
It may be project fear in reverse, but the flooding that the UK has had the last couple years has been blamed in some instances to the lack of dredging an inability to plant in certain areas due to EU environmental rules, if true, assume this is all related to climate change and preserving the environment.
Just the way you put your question down is quite leading in itself. Climate change shouldn't be a political issue at all. You can debate how you want to pay for it, who is going to invest etc. All equal or social weaker parts of society less, the one who actually pollutes etc.
You can suspect anything you like from the EU, but I suggest you do your own research. Let me put you on the right track: the EU is an organization that is mostly led by consenses, so almost each and every decision it makes is backed by the UK government. You make a distinction between the UK and the EU, it is artificial. All member states agreed to set goals to reduce their pollution - can you disagree with that? -, how each member states implements that is up to them, not the EU.
The House of Commons declared "an environment and climate emergency"
on 19th of May of this year, a bipartisan move btw. The EU Parliament only got around to it on November 20th: 'Our house is on fire': EU parliament declares climate emergency
. And the UK committed to, all on its own, the Paris climate agreement. So please don't frame this as a push from the EU, it isn't and it should not be. The ball is firmly in the court of the National Parlements and Governments to implement regulation to move forward.
As for your example, since you didn't provide any specifics, I haven't got a clue what you are talking about, in general, yes you need to take every aspect into account if you propose something, an integrated plan. The environment is important and climate adaptation is important, take both into account and you will see that some other solutions might come to mind. I am sure that the UK only has to call Delft University, Eindhoven University, Wageningen University, Royal Haskoning, DHV or one of the other consultancy firms in the Netherlands to make such a plan for you. There is a lot of expertise in water management in the Netherlands and I am sure we want to help you guys out, no worries, even if you treat us like shit and damaging our economy because of your stupid Brexit ideas.