Environment after Brexit (protection and legislation)

Last updated: 5 February 2020

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020. This process is often known as 'Brexit'.

We're now in a transition period (also known as the implementation period) that's likely to last until the end of December 2020. This means the UK is currently still following EU rules.

In January 2021 the transition period will end and our new relationship with the EU will begin. There will be effects on some areas of life in Scotland.

This may include changes to environment law.

The UK is now in the Brexit transition period. This means many of the details about what Brexit will mean are not yet known. This page gives the latest facts, but it will be updated as more details are confirmed. Please keep checking back for new information.

Scotland has measures in place to protect the environment, and these measures are supported by EU laws and standards. These EU laws and standards may be affected by Brexit.

The Scottish Government is committed to making sure it meets EU environmental standards after Brexit.

Environmental legislation is being corrected to make sure the law keeps working as it has been in key areas. The Scottish Government is working on this with public bodies like the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage.

These areas include:

  • air quality
  • chemicals
  • flooding
  • habitat and species protection
  • noise
  • pollution prevention and control
  • statistics and data
  • waste
  • water
  • wildlife management

Environmental laws and principles

The European Commission and the European Court of Justice currently help monitor and enforce environmental laws in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is discussing ways to make sure environmental laws are still monitored and enforced in an effective way after Brexit.

EU law is shaped by environmental principles – for example, that pollution should be prevented and dealt with at the source where it takes place, and that the polluter should pay for the cost of this.

These principles influence environmental law and policy in Scotland, and the Scottish Government is discussing ways to make sure this continues after Brexit.

More information

More details on environment policy after Brexit will be added to this page as new information is available.

Meanwhile, there are a number of other sites you can check for updates:

The content on this site is correct as of today's date and is based on the information available at this time. Regular updates will be made as the Brexit process develops. In the event of a 'no deal', additional advice and information will be given on this site. Please continue to check back for updates.