The following is a joint press release from the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) and E3G.
The full complexity of rolling-over environmental law after withdrawal from the European Union was highlighted at a press conference given by UKELA and E3G today in London.
Introducing five reports on Brexit and Environmental Law, Professor Richard Macrory QC CBE, co-chair of the Brexit Task Force set up by UKELA, said:
“The Government’s response to date on enforcement has frankly been unimaginative and minimalist. They will be placing great reliance on judicial review, which alone is a blunt instrument.”
Tom Burke CBE, Chairman of the climate change think tank E3G, said:
“A job I do not envy at the moment is being a Parliamentary draftsman. The legislative programme will be fantastically complex, and mistakes will inevitably be made.”
Andrew Bryce, co-chair of the UKELA Brexit Task Force, added:
“UKELA’s reports will be as practical as possible. They will be living instruments and we will be updating them as events unfold.”
At the event, UKELA outlined the first five in a series of reports which it will be publishing over the coming months. These are:
- Brexit and Environmental Law: The UK and International Environmental Law after Brexit. This report analyses over 40 international environmental agreements to which the UK is a party – some currently within the exclusive competence of the EU, some wholly the UK, and many so-called ‘mixed competence agreements’.
- Brexit and Environmental Law: Enforcement and Political Accountability Issues. This report considers the extent to which legal and political accountability mechanisms will continue after Brexit. Even if the Government succeeds in its intention of maintaining the substance of existing EU environmental law within our national system there are significant features of current arrangements for ensuring accountability and compliance which will not necessarily be replicated.
- Brexit and Environmental Law: Environmental Standard Setting Outside the EU. EU environmental law will continue to evolve after Brexit. This report considers the approach that the UK government and devolved administrations should take to setting and revising environmental standards after withdrawal from the EU.
- Brexit and Environmental law: The UK and European Environmental Bodies. This report identifies over 20 environmental cooperation bodies, networks and other groups relevant to the implementation, review or operation of environmental law in the EU. It examines the specific responsibilities of each body, the potential regulatory ‘hole’ that would be left if the UK ceased to have membership and the implications this would have for wider environmental governance. The report considers the value of remaining associated with each body post-Brexit and whether this would be legally possible.
- Brexit and Environmental Law: Exit from the Euratom Treaty and its Environmental Implications. A secure future for the nuclear industry in Britain depends upon provisions of the Euratom Treaty. This paper sets out the risks that departure from Euratom poses for the UK’s continued involvement with nuclear regulatory bodies, external relations with third-party states under Nuclear Co-operation Agreements and for meeting imminent deadlines from international convention review mechanisms.
UKELA announced that it would also provide informed commentary on the environmental provisions in the Repeal Bill throughout its passage through Parliament, identifying legal ‘pinch points’ which will require extra attention.
UKELA was also pleased to announce a major conference in October 2017 chaired by a Supreme Court judge, with panellists including senior government lawyers and leading practitioners.