Brexit—impact on environmental law

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Brexit—impact on environmental law
  • IP completion day
  • EU law after Brexit
  • European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018—environmental provisions
  • Environment Bill
  • Chemicals and hazardous substances
  • Emission trading and carbon pricing
  • Agriculture
  • Fisheries
  • Guidance for businesses on Brexit transition
  • More...

Brexit—impact on environmental law

As a result of the 23 June 2016 UK referendum on membership of the EU, which voted with a 52% majority voting in favour of the UK leaving the EU, government published the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018).

EU(W)A 2018 makes a range of legislative provisions in connection with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, to provide a functioning statute book post Brexit.

As a general rule—the same rules and laws applied after exit day (11 pm on 31 January 2020), as before exit day, until the implementation period completion date (IP completion day).

From the point of its exit from the EU, the UK's relationship with the EU was governed by the Withdrawal Agreement, an international treaty negotiated by the UK and the EU during the withdrawal period, which intended to:

  1. tie up the administrative and financial loose ends associated with the UK's membership of the EU

  2. protect the rights of UK and EU citizens living in each other's territory, and

  3. provide a stand-still period in relation to the application of EU law in order to allow for the negotiation of a trade between the EU and the UK (as a non-Member State)

For more on Brexit and the withdrawal process, see:

  1. Brexit—overview

  2. Brexit—introduction to the Withdrawal Agreement

  3. Brexit timeline

  4. Brexit legislation tracker

  5. Brexit—exiting the EU under Article 50 [Archived]

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