Environment after EU exit (protection and legislation)

Last updated: 22 March 2019

The UK may be leaving the European Union.

EU exit (also known as Brexit) may have an effect on the way you live in Scotland.

This may include changes to environment law.

EU exit has not happened, and many of the details are not yet known or are regularly changing. This page gives the most up-to-date information, but it will be added to and changed over time, so please keep checking back for updates.

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 EU exit.

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

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 EU exit.

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 EU exit.

You can take part in this discussion on the gov.scot site.

More information

More details on environment policy after EU exit 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 EU Exit 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.