Brexit: implications for UK environmental law and policy
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A principal driver for sustainability in the UK is the influence of European Union law and policy. Sustainability is a key component of the ultimate purposes of the European Union, and is given specific legal force by the requirement that in conjunction with environmental law and policy it must be integrated into all of the EU’s activities in whatever field of competence. Part of this success has been the uniformity in which environmental law and policy has been agreed and implemented by the member states, including the United Kingdom. This law is also then subject to coordination, evaluation, oversight, and enforcement by the EU’s governance institutions. Following a referendum in which the UK population narrowly voted to separate itself from the EU, specific laws, amongst others those relating to nature conservation, such as the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Bathing Water Directive, will ultimately no longer apply to govern UK policy and practice. Given that waters and biodiversity are often shared resources, this article examines the potential impacts that non-aligned environmental policies consequent upon the UK’s separation will mean in terms of the development of effective environmental law and policy, both in the UK and for those who have a stake in the sustainable and effective management of those resources.
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