The Impact of Leaving the European Union and the Future of Environmental Regulation
The UK public vote to leave the European Union (EU) caused considerable uncertainty for the future of environmental regulation as sustainable development and environmental protection were core to the EU treaty. The UK government was planning for a “Hard Brexit” with trade governed by World Trade rules. Commitment to existing and pending EU environmental regulations could be reduced as policy and regulatory resources were strained. Compliance with EU legislation would only be required for trade with the EU. However, other international treaties and agreements continued to apply.
The separation was a threat and an opportunity for future environmental regulation. The loss of EU funding and disapplication of the Common Agricultural Policy provided an opportunity for a fresh look at farming support and incentives to protect the land. Separation from EU-wide organisations including those covering nuclear safety and chemicals regulation resulted in the need for new arrangements. Commitments to waste, energy and resource management, and sustainable development were well embedded and seen as good business sense to be maintained and enhanced.
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