article 50 has officially been triggered by Theresa May but with the economic effects widely reported, little has been made of the environmental issues that will follow from Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU). This the first of two parts taking a look at the issues the government will face when negotiating with the EU and the problems when sorting through the legislation and regulation post-Brexit.

The first part takes a brief look at Nature Preservation and climate change, both issues the UK will need to tackle globally as well as nationally.

Nature Preservation

For decades now the UK has worked with the EU to develop its policy regarding climate change, pollution, and nature policies.

Firstly, there is legislation for nature preservation that has significantly benefitted both terrestrial and marine animals within the UK. This probably would not have been realised if it weren’t for the EU. Nonetheless, this legislation would continue to be important to achieve the target for reducing the decline of habitats and species. Examples of their work is cross-border threats, such as invasive alien species and climate change.

The threat this Brexit could pose to nature preservation policy is significant. Policies such as the bird and habitat directives have been the backbone of conservation in the EU. Both of these policies have had a significant impact on species and habitats, generating drastic improvements for either.

The UK government would be at liberty to change this legislation, although international environmental law would still apply. But this would not provide the level of protection nor the enforcement measures the EU membership applies.

Climate Change

The UK has had a significant influence over climate and energy policy within the EU, and has overseen drastic changes over the level of ambition it brings to international negotiations.

The general consensus of climate change policy is relatively the same amongst the usual UK political parties. The ambitious approach to climate mitigation targets has gone through a succession of General Elections. Because of this, it has been able to be pursued on in a European context with little impact on UK firms, as opposed to their competitors within other member states.

However, the current UK government have often been accused of cutting the UK’s ability to move onto renewable sources in the future. There are multiple risks to the UK’s environmental policy through the result of leaving the EU. A combination of the current, domestic decarbonisation ambitions; a reduced influence over EU and international negotiations on climate change. These restraints at both European and international levels, will have a detrimental effect on UK industry members in other states.

The government’s concern

The government have recently cut funding to numerous agricultural policies and renewable energy to combat these issues. There is a concern amongst the renewable industry that the government is looking to bury them and favour fracking and nuclear, both of which are currently very dangerous to the environment.

They are also less economically beneficial to the UK. The government needs to listen to what industry experts are saying and what research suggest but they are too concerned with cutting corporate tax and benefits for a progressive future.