This month's newsletter from the Devon Maritime Forum looks at Brexit from several angles:
· UK’s major environmental organisations unite to highlight “once in generation opportunity” for the environment as UK exits the EU (Wildlife Trusts)
· European nature laws declared fit for purpose (Wildlife Trusts)
· UK fishermen’s federations adopt united stance on Brexit (NFFO)
On particular link of interest is the latest thinking about fisheries post-Brexit:
A Brexit Blueprint for Sustainable Seas (A new White Paper from Dr Steve Hull ABPmer)
A Brexit Blueprint for
Much of the early debate on the implications of Brexit for the marine environment has been negative
and focused on the potential risks. This has been based on a perception that the UK government will
seek to water down protection of the marine environment upon leaving the EU, although this has
been strenuously denied by Defra (1) .
While there will undoubtedly be challenges associated with Brexit, there will also be opportunities to
address some of the failings of the current legal and policy framework. However, while various bodies
including the Environment Agency1
, the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA), (2) and the
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) (3) have indicated that there
could be opportunities associated with Brexit, there has been little, if any, exploration of what those
might be. In this White Paper I therefore focus on the potential opportunities that Brexit may provide
for better management of the marine environment in seeking to achieve the UK’s vision of ‘clean,
healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas’ (4) .
This paper has been written to stimulate debate about Brexit opportunities. The views expressed are
solely those of the author.
While Brexit may pose some threats to existing arrangements for marine management, it also
provides opportunities. The Brexit debate should be widened from the early focus on threats to
consider how the opportunity for change might be used to improve on current management
In particular, there are some significant weaknesses in the existing legal and policy framework for the
marine environment which might be more easily addressed once the UK leaves the EU.
To halt biodiversity decline, I argue that we need stronger policies supporting maintenance and
enhancement of natural capital rather than continuing with a somewhat myopic focus on managing
negative impacts. Placing the ‘maintenance and enhancement of natural capital’ at the heart of a new
marine legal and policy framework could be an important step forward and provide the impetus and
resources to restore marine natural capital.
To support sustainable development of our seas, I suggest there needs to be a greater focus on
delivering public benefit by those that make use of this public resource. This could be achieved by
placing a duty on decision-makers to determine public benefit.
Further integration of marine planning regimes could support better implementation of an ecosystem
approach to management. Rationalisation and simplification of existing legislation and establishment
of a single consistent set of environmental standards would reduce inconsistencies and promote
understanding of environmental requirements.
The author works for ABP Mer:
We are a leading marine consultancy that has been advising clients and undertaking applied research for over 60 years.
We are known for our knowledge of the marine environment, technical ability and emphasis on service excellence.
Home - ABP Mer
DMF December e-Newsletter | Devon Maritime Forum
Futures Forum: The Blue New Deal from the New Economics Foundation > launching an action plan for coastal communities
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the price of fish
Futures Forum: Brexit: and 'looking to get increases in fishing quotas'