It had been speculated that EU directives and European-derived regulations would no longer exist in the UK following the country’s decisions to leave the European Union, however lawyers and ecologists have suggested that they are likely to remain.
Currently, developers and planners have to take into account wildlife protection and air quality limits during planning applications, however many of those regulations were introduced by the EU.
Despite this, lawyers have insisted that developers would still have to comply with European-derived regulations which augment the planning system like environmental impact assessment (EIA), air quality limits and habitats protection.
“Many of these will be extremely difficult to unpick, and some reflect international treaty obligations, so are likely to remain, even when the UK finally leaves” said Angus Walker, a senior partner at law firm BDB.
“Sorting this out could take years, and so developers should continue for now on the basis that the requirements remain in place. But they should pause before assuming that new European requirements will automatically be introduced – for instance, the 2014 changes to the EIA Directive were due to be introduced by 2017. This may no longer happen, after all.”
Richard Arnold, technical director at Thomson Ecology, the UK’s largest ecology consultancy said: “Nothing has changed in the law or policy protecting wildlife following the outcome of the EU referendum. All the protection for wildlife that existed prior to the referendum is still in place and there is every indication that it will be retained for the foreseeable future.”
Already local politicians are asking for assurances from the UK government that major funding commitments like the City Deal programme will be honoured however the UK performs economically in the short to medium term.
The Local Government Association noted: “Communities in England have been allocated £5.3bn of EU regeneration funding up to 2020. It is important for the government to guarantee it will protect this vital funding to avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and local economies across England being stifled.”