On 15 March the Environment Secretary Michael Gove spoke at Prosperity UK about environmental protection post-Brexit and highlighted the opportunities which Brexit provides to ‘strengthen environmental protection measures’ in the UK. Importance was also placed on the connection between a healthy environment and a stronger economy.

Having advocated that ‘Brexit, with the right decisions, can enhance our natural environment’, Mr Gove went on to re-iterate the government’s plans to introduce a new environmental watchdog once the UK leaves the EU and pointed out that certain policies outlined in the government’s recent 25-Year Environment Plan ‘are more ambitious than any required by EU membership.’ Industry experts have noted, however, that many of the government’s environmental plans could have been implemented within the EU and that a significant number of key UK environmental obligations exist by virtue of international treaties which will be unaffected by Brexit.

It is yet to be seen whether Brexit will present the opportunity for a ‘new era’ in UK environmental regulation, and in the wake of recent government policies and initiatives the resounding opinion from industry remains that governmental proposals do not yet go far enough and need to be backed up by significant authority.