Here’s a comment from WWT – the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust – on some of the implications of the vote to leave the EU.
“The environment is one of the areas most affected by the Leave vote. 40% of EU funding goes to farming payments, and much of our law is underpinned by EU law – which reflects that air, water and wildlife are cross-border issues. Two of the major issues for wetlands and wildlife include:
- Whether payments will continue for farmers to do works that benefit the environment and rural economies, for example installing wetland treatment systems to reduce pollution and flooding?
- Whether the UK will voluntarily maintain Birds and Habitats Directives protection for sites and species, and how that could be enforced without the backing of EU law (this is partly how we maintain a coherent network of stopover sites for migratory birds)?
The Birds and Habitats Directives have a knock-on effect on planning law by providing a legal basis to prevent inappropriate development that would harm our most valuable natural places. Prior to the Brexit vote, the Birds and Habitats Directives were being assessed anyway. The published evaluation concludes the Directives are fit for purpose. The European Commission’s response appears to have slipped and isn’t expected until at least the autumn. Prime Minister Cameron confirmed the Birds and Habitats Directives, and EU plans for a circular (more sustainable) economy remain in place while the UK is still in the EU, but what happens after Brexit will be “a matter for a future government”. …