To uphold the proud tradition of evidence based policy in the UK is a challenge. And we will be stronger if we provide policy options, not only evidence; if we cooperate and if we speak out. This was the conclusion at the latest NCI meeting, held jointly with the UK Network of Environmental Economists, on the future of evidence-based environmental policy post-Brexit. A short report of the event is now available.
Brexit is a major challenge for environmental policy…
The event note summarises the key risks and opportunities that arise from Brexit. It identifies risks in three main areas: governance, institutional capacity and the UK in the international arena. The discussion highlighted lacking political will to lead environmental policy which may result in a shortage of funding and other resources needed for policy and management. Expertise and/or the number of people for implementing, monitoring and enforcing regulation are lacking. There is also a risk that the environment could be a sacrifice made during trade negotiations. Devolution also poses the risk for a ‘race to the bottom’.
…but we should focus on opportunities
Those present at the meeting seem to prefer a positive and dynamic strategy, focussing on opportunities while being acutely aware of the risks. Brexit has been the catalyst for collaborative working. For example, 13 environmental NGOs have joined forces in the Greener UK group, and created a pledge thus far signed by 182 MPs from all parties to commit to environmental standards. Exiting the European Union will provide the opportunity to replace mechanisms such as the Common Agricultural Policy which have failed to protect rural landscapes and biodiversity, and replacing the multitude of regulations, permitting systems and plans with comprehensive framework to safeguard our natural capital.
The report also identifies next steps and potential follow on from the event. To read more, download the Summary Report: The future of evidence-based environmental policy in the Brexit UK