Brexit and environmental law

Post by Maria Fletcher, Director of SULNE and Senior Lecturer in the University of Glasgow School of Law

This week, the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE) published our latest position paper in the aftermath of the Leave vote in June – this time focussing on the implications of Brexit on environmental law in Scotland.

The paper – produced by researchers at universities across Scotland – identifies a series of challenges faced by Scotland due to Brexit, including the loss of the stable regulatory framework provided by EU law, a loss of access to EU funds and programmes and a repositioning of the UK and Scotland in international and regional environmental governance cooperation.

The question of the allocation Brexit between the UK and Scottish Governments of any environmental powers repatriated after Brexit is also raised – and is one which will require serious discussion between central and devolved governments not just in Scotland, but across the UK.

Of course, the environment is just one of the many areas in which there remain serious and profound unanswered questions regarding the effect of Brexit – and over the coming months, SULNE will offer reflections and facilitate discussions on the legal dimension of topics providing most concern as the UK gets ready to leave the European Union.

From security matters and the future shape of the UK’s border with our neighbours to the human rights currently guaranteed by our EU membership which we have all come to take for granted – it’s clear that there are serious questions to answer.  And that’s why we believe it’s more important than ever that there is a space for legal expertise and debate on these important matters. SULNE hopes to both  provide legal advice to government and institutions as difficult policy choices are explored and more generally facilitate a better public understanding of the law.

More than 80 scholars and researchers have already joined the network representing all of the Universities in Scotland which teach or research European Union and related aspects of law – and I am hopeful that as the debate on the Brexit process continues, even more people will contribute to our work.

You can find more information on the work of SULNE at their website, here: