Brexit and UK Environmental Policy and Politics

Charlotte Burns, Neil Thomas Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Whilst the environment did not feature significantly in the referendum campaign it has emerged as a major focus for the UK Government as it prepares for Brexit. Since the UK joined the EU in 1973, its approach to environmental policy-making has been profoundly shaped by processes of Europeanisation. Consequently, disentangling the UK from the environmental acquis communautaire will be a huge undertaking. Whilst the Government has committed to the pursuit of a ‘Green Brexit’ there are on-going concerns that Brexit will lead to weaker environmental ambition and governance. It may also produce policy divergence across the UK as the environmental sector is devolved and has become a site of constitutional conflict over the powers of the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A once stable policy area characterised by a broad cross-party and cross-national consensus therefore is, post-Brexit, increasingly likely to become a focus for constitutional and party political conflict and competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalRevue Française de Civilisation Britannique
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, The Author(s).


  • Brexit; Conservative Government; devolution; environmental governance; environmental principles; UK environmental policy

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