Following a referendum which has polarised the nation, the people of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Stepping away from the political rhetoric and posturing, it is worth reflecting on some of the more practical issues which will arise from this decision, such as how it could affect our environmental law landscape.
From a historical perspective, the UK was once referred to as the ‘dirty man of Europe’, with relatively lax levels of environmental regulation and standards. Since joining the EU in the 1970s, environmental standards imposed, largely through EU legislation, saw a significant strengthening of the UK’s environmental protection regimes and of environmental standards. However, much of that change might have happened in any event as environmental issues have moved up the political and community agendas in the last 40 years.