Environment & Climate Change – Top 5 Issues

  1. Risk of dual regulation - It is possible that the UK will depart from EU environmental, climate change and product regulatory regimes following Brexit. For operations currently geared for compliance with EU-wide standards this would add to the cost and complexity of extending operations into the UK, as those operations would be obliged to comply with two differing regulatory regimes.
  2. Risk of delay and complication in projects - Conducting Environmental Impact Assessment of projects may well become more complex. Within the EU, transboundary environmental impact is subject to a joint cross-border assessment exercise; whereas, post-Brexit, the UK may impose its own additional requirements and assessments, adding costs, delays as well as consent risk for projects.
  3. Risk of businesses relocating to UK - A core objective of harmonised EU environmental standards is the avoidance of trade distortions and of "carbon leakage" between EU Member States. Following a Brexit, the UK would be free to adopt environmental standards less rigorous than those in the EU. This could result in some companies relocating to the UK and may reduce the attractiveness of Ireland as a European base for overseas companies.
  4. Risk to Ireland's environment and habitats - Much of Ireland's marine and coastal environment enjoys "European Site" status. If the UK moves away from EU designations and mechanisms regarding protected habitats and species, this could have negative consequences for Ireland's environment which, presently, benefits from well-established joint UK-Irish approaches to the management and protection of designated areas.
  5. Impact on carbon market – Following a Brexit, the UK would no longer be required to participate in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). This has the potential to introduce a lot of uncertainty into the EU carbon market - related to the validity of carbon allowances already issued to UK installations; the status of commercial trades involving those allowances; revised EU Greenhouse Gas reduction targets; as well as likely structural changes to cater for a complete UK exit from the EU ETS or for an external link into the EU ETS from a UK national scheme.


Conor Linehan
Conor Linehan

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