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Brexit and the United Kingdom Water Environment

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image of Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law

This paper notes the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, following the Brexit Referendum in 2016, and investigates the implications of this for environmental laws generally and, more particularly, for water protection legislation. At the time of writing, the UK Government’s Brexit White Paper is the focus of attention, setting out plans to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and to replace existing EU law by corresponding national legislation. Taking the EU Water Framework Directive as a case study, the later part of the paper examines the inherent difficulties in this strategy in the particular context of water protection. It is suggested that there are major difficulties in finding national law counterparts for many of the EU obligations. Moreover, the exercise of trying to address environmental quality concerns through a purely national framework neglects the essentially transboundary character of many environmental problems and the need for a coordinated supra-national response.

Affiliations: 1: University of Kent,


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