The impact on environmental policy of the UK voting to leave the EU “should not be underestimated”, according to a cross-party Parliamentary report.
The authors say that “unavoidable uncertainty and disruption” would be created in the short term by a ’no’ vote on 23 June, hitting investor confidence.
The All Party Parliamentary Environment Group (APPG) report Brexit – the implications for UK environment policy and regulations, which was published in March, argues that the longer-term effects would be even more significant, with a loss of influence over EU policy while European law would continue to dictate UK legislation.
It is also argued that UK environment policy would be unlikely to grow outside the union.
“It is difficult to identify obvious drivers for greater environmental ambition in the UK once it is outside the EU, not least as member states already have [the right under treaty] to introduce more demanding legislation.
“A lesson from EU experience is that governments are more willing and able to address challenging environmental issues working together rather than independently, not least because it removes fear of being undercut by competing industries in other countries.”
It adds that future governments might be more inclined to relax environmental standards to aid competitiveness if the UK opted out.
The Resource Association and the Environmental Services Association both said EU membership had been beneficial, while waste management firm Grundon suggested it had held back UK policy.
- London mayor Boris Johnson was criticised in March for wrongly claiming that councils had banned the recycling of tea bags because of EU legislation