Brexit poses threats for the water environment says report

Under a series of models for Brexit, a recent report commissioned by Friends of the Earth puts bathing water and drinking water, in all but one instance, at moderate risk while water framework urban waste water and ground water face high risk.

The report recommends that any post-Brexit trade agreement should include an “environmental nonregression

clause “ and measures to curb “zombification” of environmental stewardship at UK and European levels. Such measures might include, according to the report, reference to an “environmental advancement principle."

The authors of the report: UK Environmental Policy Post-Brexit: A Risk Analysis, Professor Charlotte Burns of University of Sheffield, Dr Viviane Gravey of Queen’s University, Belfast, and Professor Andrew Jordan, of Tyndall Centre, University of East Anglia recommend also the establishment of a new watchdog that is “co-ordinated across the UK,” and is “sufficiently resourced and has robust scrutiny and enforcement powers.”

They assert that the “vast majority” of progress in environmental standards in the UK to date have been “driven by the implementation of EU directives.” And they voice clear concern that commitments to maintain and step up the water environment may wane post Brexit. But one are where a slide back was “unlikely” according to the authors was in drinking water where investment and public sentiment would militate against a decline.