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19 Envtl. L. Rev. 3 (2017)

handle is hein.journals/envirlr19 and id is 1 raw text is: 




                                                                                  Law Review
Opinion

                                                                                 Environmental Law Review
                                                                                      2017, Vol. 19(I) 3-5
Brexit and the devolution dynamics                                                    The Author(s) 2017
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                                                                                 10.1177/1461452917693337
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Colin T. Reid'                                                                            OSAGE
University of Dundee, Dundee, UK



Abstract
Brexit will mean the return of powers from Brussels not just to London but to a devolved United Kingdom,
with environmental matters primarily a responsibility of the devolved administrations. This will require careful
attention to how and where law can be made. The devolved authorities could go their own way on many
issues but the need to comply with international obligations will provide a continuing constraint, and a source
of tension since all aspects of international relations remain in the hands of the UK authorities. There are
strong reasons for continuing cooperation and coordination across the UK, and with the EU, but mechanisms
to achieve this must be found. Differing ambitions for the post-Brexit position may have consequences for
devolution itself, with the Scottish Government calling for powers in some non-devolved areas currently
dominated by EU law to be passed away from London and for a stronger role in international affairs.


Keywords
Brexit, European Union referendum, environmental law, devolution



A lot has happened since the United Kingdomjoined the Common Market at the start of 1973. 'Taking back
control' as the UK leaves the EU does not mean going back to how things were over 40 years ago, but
adapting to a very different situation. One of the big differences is the impact of devolution. For almost
20 years now, devolution has been very much an active part of the governance of the UK, with significant,
but significantly different, powers devolved to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. What might this mean for
environmental law post-Brexit?
   Many areas ofEU competence are ones which are reserved (to use the Scottish terminology) to Westminster.
After all, the issues that are regulated to create the Single Market within the EU are also regulated to provide a
single market within the UK, for example free movement, aspects ofemployment law and product standards. In
some areas power is devolved - the most important being agriculture, fisheries and the environment.
   At present this means that each of the devolved administrations is responsible for policy and law in
these areas, but subject to the need to fit within the framework established by EU law. As a result there
are differences between each nation - for example, the details of agricultural payments, and the structure


1. This opinion is based on a talk which was given at the Brexit and Environmental Law seminar held as part of the Brexit seminar
  series at the Centre of European Law at King's College London in January 2017.


Corresponding author:
Colin T. Reid, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee, Scotland, DD I 4HN.
Email: c.t.reid@dundee.ac.uk

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