Environmental policy in a devolved United Kingdom

10 October 2018

Brexit consequently represents a major change to environmental governance in the United Kingdom (UK), raising significant opportunities and challenges. Environmental policy in the UK is devolved, but UK devolution is asymmetrical: England has no formal representation or parliament.

For environmental policy this means that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) often acts on behalf of England. This model of devolution raises concerns amongst stakeholders in the devolved nations that Defra approaches policy with an English mind-set, which suggests that English interests will dominate after Brexit. There are also concerns that Brexit will lead to greater instability and weaken environmental protections.

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The views expressed in this research paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative.

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