- If the UK remains in the European Economic Area (such as Norway or Switzerland) the UK must follow all EU rules whilst having no input whatsoever on any amendments to existing or new future environmental laws. We would be a law taker, not a informer or shaper.
- On departure from the EU The UK can preserve all the existing environmental laws which would:
- Help trade with EU countries
- Keep laws on waste/management and gas emissions (very relevant to UK industry)
- Convert new/updated EU laws into UK law – but the big problem here is they would be regulated by the EU and not UK Bodies. It is unlikely that the EU would recognise the regulator from a non-EU member.
- UK may drop EU regulations and make its own new laws – but International Treaties may then have to be included. It could also make the development of any future trade agreements more difficult.
It should also be noted that some environmental laws don’t come from Brussels and won’t be affected by the Brexit outcome. Furthermore, all the above are further complicated given that environmental regulation has been devolved to the Scottish Parliament (the differences between England and Scotland could increase).
As a business leader what can you do?
- If you are Certified to ISO 14001 nothing changes whilst we are in the negotiating stages.
- If (or when) we leave you will be required to review your full Environmental Management System and your Operational Procedures where change is identified. This will be particularly relevant if environmental regulations change.
- It is imperative that your Environmental Management System Manager considers laws, regulations and directives that affect your own business sector and consider how these obligations will now be covered by UK/Scots law. Note that you need to continually demonstrate compliance for certification to the standard.