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EU Withdrawal

Understanding the implications of Britain's exit from the European Union is a key concern for planners, and came up high on the list of issues raised in our 2017 member survey.

In response to this, we have recently completed research aimed at undersanding these implications. The first phase was led by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). The second was conducted by a consortium of academics from around the UK led by Professor Richard Cowell from Cardiff University.

Phase One

The impact of Brexit on UK implementation of key EU legislation affecting land use

Cover ImageThe Government's Withdrawal Bill is designed to carry over EU legislation into the post-Brexit period. Differing views have been expressed regarding the best direction for environmental regulation, ranging from seeing Brexit as an opportunity to reduce regulation on the one hand, to being determined to retain the current system on the other. 

It is open for debate whether a separate environmental system is in the best interests of the UK or its environment. However now it is an option, we need more information on it. We particularly need information on key problems, like how a single unified EU system will be translated into the four planning systems of the UK. And what oversight might exist to guarantee enforcement.

The first phase of this research was carried out by Martin Nesbit and Emma Watkins at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). This briefing paper maps the full range of relevant directives and regulations affecting land use, and their applicability to different outcomes of the Brexit process.

Download the briefing paper (pdf)

Phase Two

Environmental planning after Brexit: working with the legacy of EU Environmental Directives

Phase 2 builds on the mapping carried out in Phase 1, and asks the question: how should the relationship between EU-derived environmental legislation and the planning systems of the UK evolve, post-Brexit?

Through documentary analysis and interviews and focus groups with planners and other professionals, it sought:

  • to identify ways of improving the relationship between inherited EU environmental legislation and planning
  • to see where there may be opportunities for enhancement or simplification, in the way that environmental standards are achieved, and especially whether there is duplication between environmental and planning regimes
  • to do so on the basis of careful analysis of whether, how and how far EU environmental directives have contributed to positive outcomes

This research was led by Richard Cowell from Cardiff University, supported by a team from around the UK. The final report summarises the findings from this research and presents two heuristic tools designed to inform the debate moving forward.

Read the final report here.