Tomorrow’s EU Decision Could Change UK Environment

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The British public will choose either remain or leave tomorrow as polls open for the EU Referendum. With less than 12 hours to go before voting begins, IEMA have released expert views from the Environment and Sustainability sector about what might happen to the environment if Britain decides it is leaving the European Union.

IEMA collected over 4,000 expert views on key environment and sustainability risks and opportunities associated with a potential “Brexit” in the lead up to the referendum. One standout statistic is that the majority of respondents believe both the Vote Leave and Vote Remain campaigns have poorly addressed environment and sustainability issues in the lead up to the referendum, despite 75% of respondents thinking that these issues will be at least of some importance in voters’ minds when they cast their vote. 86% believe that voters do not have sufficient information to take environmental issues into account when they cast their votes tomorrow.

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IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor Martin Baxter said today: “Environment and Sustainability Professionals recognise the importance of EU policy and regulation in helping to drive environmental improvements. The decision on whether the UK remains or leaves the EU is important in terms of environmental protection. Whatever the outcome of the ballot, the profession will work hard to ensure effective policy to deliver environmental protection and enhancement.

Environment & Sustainability Profession’s Top Ten Brexit Views

  1. The overwhelming majority believe the UK has benefited from EU environment and climate policy and that European membership has been positive for UK business.
  2. 82% believe that operating within the EU provides a policy landscape that is more stable and therefore potentially more effective for both businesses and the environment over the medium to longer term.EU2
  3. Most think that the UK is influential in the development of EU environment and climate policy (78%) and that being part of the EU gives the UK more international clout, with the ability to exert greater international influence on environmental outcomes by working within the EU block of 28 countries (82%)EU3aEU3
  4. The vast majority (93%) believe that efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity in the UK are best addressed within (80%) or aligned to (13%) EU policy frameworksEU4
  5. There’s concern about the way environmental issues could be addressed as part of infrastructure decision making if the UK leaves Europe. Two thirds believe the way that environmental issues are taken into account in infrastructure decision making would be reduced or removed altogetherEU5
  6. The majority of environment and sustainability professionals (81%) believe that European laws and regulations are important in providing them with a framework for being able to deliver environmental protection and environmental improvements.EU6
  7. If the UK were to leave the EU, 60% believe that there will be a lower level of legal protection for wildlife and habitatsEU7
  8. Of those involved in EIA, 80% believe that the EIA Directive has enhanced the way that environmental issues are factored into development consent decisions for major infrastructure projectsEU8
  9. 88% of environment and sustainability professionals say EU policy approach needed to address air pollutionEU9
  10. Two thirds of Environment & Sustainability Professionals believe waste and recycling performance would be hit if the UK leaves the EU and 71% of respondents say business collaboration towards circular resource economy would be reduced if the UK leaves the EU.EU10a EU10