The authors of this article in Infrastructure Intelligence are environment and energy lawyers from the prominent firm Bird and Bird. They report concerns from many of their clients about how they will maintain “transparent, efficient, compliant and sustainable production and investment” post-Brexit unless they receive from UK Government “clear and long-term” policy support for innovation and leadership in this sector.
The main observations from multiple stakeholders are:
- Whilst the government has committed to ensure existing EU environment law will be transposed into UK law, uncertainty over policy direction, particularly for energy, has brought stoppages to investment projects, for example under BEIS’ Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) reforms, including waste to biogas schemes. The European Commission through its 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan has been encouraging the role of waste-to-energy, eco-design and labelling. UK Government should clarify how it plans to promote “circular economy” post-Brexit.
- Energy-intensive industrial organisations are seeking policy clarity from BEIS on support for energy management solutions such as corporate power purchase agreements which have been in use for more than ten years for corporates to contract for long-term power supply directly with renewable energy generators.
- The UK Environmental Lawyers Association worries that Brexit threatens the fair oversight of environmental law currently exercised through the ECJ – the UK Environment Agency is not resourced to oversee this nor take legal action and a mechanism is needed to sustain UK government accountability for environmental protection.
- Business needs clarity on future product compliance legislation post-Brexit to reduce investment uncertainty on new product development and launch of products in the pipeline. Investors are increasingly pressing for environmental management reporting from corporates as well as increased legislative obligations. Government has yet to commit to maintain The Companies, Partnerships and Groups (Accounts and Non-Financial Reporting) Regulations 2016 which implement the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive 2014.
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