Brexit and the Environment
European Union (EU) legislation has helped to enhance environmental protections in the UK – for example, by bringing about improvements in bathing water quality and limiting emissions to atmosphere from industry. From a public health perspective, when the UK leaves the EU, maintaining, and improving on, levels of environmental protections should be a priority. The UK Government states that it is ‘committed to being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than that in which we found it’.
There are many environmental health concerns which are global in their nature – such as climate change. There are expectations that the UK will maintain its strong position on the international stage on these issues, working with the remaining EU Member States and the rest of the world. Brexit can be an opportunity for the UK to strengthen its environmental commitments, to introduce innovative initiatives to tackle the challenges posed by environmental influences on health – on land, in water, and in the air we breathe.