Now begins the period of review to understand exactly which Environmental laws are derived from the EU, where the regulatory gaps will lie, and what should be repealed in whole or in part or changed. The UK has the opportunity to reappraise and possibly reduce environmental regulation. There may be scope for some simplification, but radical changes are unlikely, given the increasing globalisation of environmental standards. In practice, meeting those standards will, in any event, be a pre-condition for sales into the EU and wider markets.

The “Leave” vote flags some compliance challenges. For example, it may no longer be possible for UK companies to undertake certain compliance tasks, including REACH registration, following exit. Any pan-EU business sourcing products from outside the EU which has organised its supply chain so that its UK legal entity is “importer” for REACH purposes (and so holds the REACH registrations/pre-registrations for supplies to all group members in the EU) potentially has an immediate compliance problem. Once the UK leaves the EU, that business will not be REACH compliant unless one or more of its EU group members re-registers.

For more information please read our recent UK environment e-briefing – Brexit and UK Environmental law.