Scotland’s post-Brexit environmental law landscape examined by Stirling expert

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An expert group – including a University of Stirling academic – has outlined potential environmental law challenges for post-Brexit Scotland.

Dr Annalisa Savaresi and colleagues produced the Environmental Governance in Scotland on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, to advise Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR).

Dr Savaresi said: “Brexit’s implications for environmental law-making and enforcement in the UK are symptomatic of the challenges associated with breaking away from the EU.

Annalisa Savaresi

Dr Annalisa Savaresi

“While nobody suggests that after Brexit the UK will turn into a lawless land, the loss of the EU’s comparatively stable regulatory, enforcement, governance and support frameworks requires that these be somehow replaced, within a relatively short timeframe.

“The allocation of environmental law-making and enforcement powers between UK and devolved administrations after Brexit raises also sensitive constitutional questions.

“The spat over the European Union Withdrawal Bill indicates that the UK and Scottish governments hold diverging views on who should assume after Brexit the competences presently exercised by the EU. Furthermore, when the unifying frame of EU law is removed, the ensuing fragmentation may well threaten the maintenance of present levels of environmental protection across the UK.

“Whoever is in charge of environmental affairs after Brexit, departure from the EU requires a careful rethinking of the very mechanics of environmental law-making, implementation and enforcement across the UK.

“There is precious little time to attend to this complex task, and secure the continuation of present levels of environmental protection, on matters as diverse as habitat and species protection, water and air quality, waste, agriculture and fisheries, and climate change.

“This report, prepared together with colleagues from the Roundtable on Environment and Climate Change, surveys the implications of Brexit for environmental protection in Scotland, and provides some recommendations for solutions that may be adopted to address these.”