UK Environmental Standards in a No-Deal Brexit

The UK Government has issued a Technical Notice, which offers guidance for continued planning in the event of no deal designed to minimise disruption and ensure a smooth and orderly exit.

The UK government has maintained a commitment to maintaining environmental standards after the UK leaves the EU, and will continue to uphold international obligations through multilateral environmental agreements.

The EU Withdrawal Act 2018 has been drafted to ensure all existing EU environmental law continues to operate in UK law, providing businesses and stakeholders with certainty in the post-Brexit process.

The process will be for the UK government and devolved administrations to amend current legislation to correct references to EU legislation, transfer powers from EU institutions to domestic institutions and ensure we meet international agreement obligations.

The UK’s legal framework for enforcing domestic environmental legislation by UK regulatory bodies, such as the Environment Agency, or court systems are unaffected by leaving the EU and will continue to apply. Environmental targets currently covered by EU legislation are already covered in domestic legislation. Permits and licences issued by UK regulatory bodies will continue to apply as now.

The UK government will then have the opportunity, over time and with parliamentary scrutiny, to ensure the legislative framework for England (and environmental matters that are not devolved) through the proposed Environment Act and its new, independent statutory body to hold government to account on environmental standards in relation to England and reserved matters once we leave the EU, alongside a statutory statement of environmental principles to guide future government policy making.

At this stage (4 February 2019), the UK Government still have yet to consider the final interim measures, which will be necessary in a no deal scenario after 29 March 2019 and before the Environment Act is passed and comes into effect.

Further information on the UK Government’s Technical Guidance “Upholding environmental standards if there’s no Brexit deal” is available here


  1. Consider your organisation and its reliance on environmental standards.
  2. Review the UK Government’s Technical Guidance “Upholding environmental standards if there’s no Brexit deal”.
  3. Review your organisation’s approach to environmental standards in relation to a post-Brexit world after 29 March 2019 in the event of a “No-Deal”..
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