The legislative assemblies in Westminster and the devolved administrations (Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly) have legislative competence over many aspects of land use policy and pollution control.
The four legislatures have developed distinctive environmental policies and regulations to suit their particular needs and priorities - for example, Wales has a Future Generations Commissioner whose role is to protect the interests of future generations in Wales, and to support public bodies seeking to achieve various well-being goals.
Even before the Brexit Referendum, a divergent approach to sustainable development, protecting biodiversity, energy conservation and planning law was emerging across the four countries. With England and Wales voting overall to leave the EU and Scotland and Northern Ireland voting strongly to remain, and Scotland indicating that it will not be making any changes to its environmental laws when the UK leaves the EU, it seems likely that this divergence will increase in the coming years.
This Debate will consider the following questions:
To what extent has the UK’s environment benefited from the devolution of environmental law making?
What is the impact of having devolved environmental laws on businesses which operate across the UK?
Do each of the devolved administrations have sufficient expert resources (lawyers, scientists and economists) to develop their environmental regulations?
How strong is the environmental protection case for closer collaboration between the UK’s administrations - e.g. on cross border environmental issues? How might this be achieved?
Stephen Sykes Managing Partner, Sykes Environmental LLP
Professor Robert Lee, Head of the Law School and the Director of the Centre for Legal Education and Research, University of Birmingham.
Phil Hunter, Head of Environmental Law, Brodies
Jennifer Fulton, Chief Executive Officer, Ulster Wildlife
Dr Haydn Davies, Head of School of Law, Birmingham City University
Organised by Pamela Castle OBE
09.00 - 09.30am registration and refreshments
09.30 - 11.30am speaker presentations, Q&A
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