Post-Brexit Wildlife Regulation Update

12th January, 2017

A recent meeting of the Environmental Audit Select Committee has reported back to Government recommending a seven point plan to safeguard the UK’s wildlife legislation post-Brexit.

The Committee report raised several important issues relating to wildlife legislation in its current form and fears for the future of UK land management if, as now seems likely following recent comments from the Prime Minister, the UK leaves the single European market and the Customs Union.

Risks to the UK farming industry are seen as a significant potential threat to continuance of current land management practices and the Select Committee were keen to recommend the Government should legislate for a new Environmental Protection Act whilst Article 50 negotiations are underway to ensure the UK’s environmental standards are maintained.

Much of the current wildlife legislation protecting Britain’s most important species and sites is bound up in the EU Birds and Habitats Directive 2010 (as amended), which will no longer apply in British law in its current form post-Brexit. The report warns of the far reaching consequences of this to UK wildlife and biodiversity.

Defra is currently compiling two 25 year plans to outline Government approach to the Natural Environment and also for Food, Farming and Fisheries. The Committee report urged Government to ensure the framework for these is published and subject to Parliamentary scrutiny before Article 50 is triggered.

What is certain is the direct transposition of current EU wildlife legislation into British law under the terms of a Great Repeal Bill is unlikely to be a straightforward process. Given the current Government’s manifesto commitment to “be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it found it in” post-EU environmental policy should continue to provide an equivalent or better level of protection following the Brexit process.

Pro Vision Ecology would be pleased to discuss the ecological implications of Brexit for any of our current or proposed projects.