BREXIT UK Environmental Legislation

Update on BREXIT and the effect on UK environmental legislation

The UK’s membership of the European Union ceased on 31 January 2020 and the ‘Transition Period’ ended on 31 December 2020. Read on for an update on how Brexit is impacting UK environmental legislation.

Despite having left the EU, the consequences of former membership remain within the UK’s current legislation.

It follows that much of the UK legislation contains references to EU legislation, particularly to the directives.

Rather than draft and pass what would have been very extensive new legislation to remove such references, the current situation is that EU legislation which applied directly or indirectly to the UK before 11.00 p.m. on 31 December 2020 has been retained in UK law as a form of domestic legislation known as ‘retained EU legislation’.

Secondary legislation, usually bearing the phrase ‘(Amendment)(EU Exit)’ in its title, was progressively introduced from 2018 onwards with a ‘coming into force day’ given as ‘Exit Day’ to amend existing legislation, in order that it could continue to operate effectively.

Some legislation was subsequently further amended so as to come into force on IP Completion Day (IP meaning Implementation Period the so-called Transition Period following Exit Day). By these means over 100,000 amendments came into force at 11.00 p.m. on 31 December 2020.

Whilst the EU directives and regulations as they existed on ‘Exit Day’ are still referred to in the newly amended UK legislation they themselves have had additions made to them, omissions from them and substituted wording made within them to ensure the amended legislation remains sound and workable in the new circumstances. For example, references in a directive to ‘Member State’ may have been amended to read ‘the United Kingdom’ or ‘the Regulator’ as may be appropriate.

The CIP Environmental Manual will keep you up to date with all that is changing, in the forthcoming 2021 updates.  For information on how the Manual can help your business keep abreast of environmental legislation and best practice click here.