Brexit Could Seriously Damage UK Environmental Awareness In Infrastructure Projects

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A potential British exit from the European Union could have a serious impact on the way environmental issues are taken into account in future infrastructure projects.

Brexit-1Results from a new poll conducted among the UK members of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) reveal concern for the way that environmental issues will be addressed or even acknowledged as part of future infrastructure decision-making if the United Kingdom is to exit from the European Union.

A British exit from the European Union, or Brexit, has been a talking point for several years now. The recent furor regarding such a possibility stems from the upcoming referendum that is being held on Thursday, June 23, to decide whether Britain should stay or leave the European Union.

There are innumerable issues to be raised when discussing the Brexit, but an oft-overlooked concern is what such a decision will do to the UK’s already wobbling renewable energy industry and climate policies. The UK Government has already made numerous unpopular decisions with regards to its renewable energy industry and its climate policies, being attacked from within and without.

The most recent is the recent poll results from UK members of the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment, a membership organization for individuals involved in environmental management and assessment. According to the results of the survey, two-thirds of respondents believe the way environmental issues are taken into consideration in infrastructure decision-making would be greatly reduced or removed altogether. Half of all respondents are concerned that opportunities for the public and communities to engage in the decision-making process on new local infrastructure projects would be reduced if the UK was to exit the EU. 43% of respondents believe the current engagement process would be retained, with only 7% saying it might be enhanced.

“Environment and sustainability professionals recognize the importance of EU policy and regulation in helping to drive environmental improvements,” said Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor. “Whichever way the vote goes, it is essential that environmental issues continue to be factored into infrastructure decision-making and that those potentially affected are given opportunities to participate.”

At the same time, the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne, speaking to BusinessGreen, warned of the uncertainty that would stem from having to renegotiate the country’s position within Europe would be significantly damaging to the UK renewable energy industry. Lord Bourne noted that he “can’t conceive” of a single reason why the UK would be better off by exiting the EU, and that in leaving, the UK’s energy industry risks substantial disruption. Specifically, Lord Bourne highlighted the UK’s wind industry, which is so reliant upon large European firms such as DONG Energy and Siemens. “We operate with [the likes of DONG and Siemens] through the benefits of the European Union, so the uncertainty that would arise from having to renegotiate our position within Europe would be massively damaging,” he said. “To them, to us, to the renewables industry and to everybody who benefits from it.”

With regards specifically to efforts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity in the UK, 93% of respondents to the IEMA poll believed that the UK’s best bet is to stay within the EU biodiversity policy frameworks, or at least aligned to the EU.

Lord Bourne and UK members of the IEMA are simply the latest to make public their fears of a Brexit.

Earlier this year, the Institute for European Environmental Policy published a report which concluded that UK’s potential exit from the EU could result in “significant consequences, not only for policy, law, and trade relations, but for the environment.”

While WWF-UK isn’t taking sides in the debate, it nevertheless concludes that, “on balance, Britain’s membership of the EU has delivered benefits for our environment — such as reduced air and water pollution, reduced carbon emissions, increased recycling, clean beaches, and protected areas for rare species and habitats.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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28 thoughts on “Brexit Could Seriously Damage UK Environmental Awareness In Infrastructure Projects

  • Germany’s Gross Mismanagement of the Greek economy requires any sane person to leave the EU. Austerity budgets are Recessionary. Greece has unemployment levels that exceed the US’s Depression of 1929. That’s how bad it is.

    Current debt policy, with no economic stimulus or infrastructure spend means Greece will be in Perpetual Debt to Germany.

    Really! You want to be party to that incompetence?

    • In other words, any economic mistake, and you become a German Slave State to have your assets RAPED from your nation.

      • Any economic mistake?

        Greece built up massive debts and their citizens refused to pay taxes.

        Do you expect Greece to be treated like a spoiled little brat and allowed to simply grab what it wants off other people’s plates?

        Was Germany too heavy-handed? Perhaps. Should there have been more emphasis put on rebuilding Greece’s economy? Perhaps.

        Should the Greek government and people solved their own problems sooner and put its own economy on a stable path to paying off their debts before the EU stepped in? What think you?

        • Actually it was one economic mistake after another. Greece should never have entered the EU and especially the Euro at all. But once the neo-liberal elite of Greece were paid off to bring them in, it was all down-hill from there. Can’t pay off your loans, here let us loan you some more to make the interest payments.

          Their citizens are quite right to refuse to pay for debts created by criminal bankers. If they still had their own currency they could have done what Iceland did. Jail the bastards and devalue and default where needed.

          • And devalue/default would have what impact on the Greek economy?

            Would the world banks say to Greece “Well, you just screwed us out of hundreds of billions of dollars. Here, let us loan you hundreds of billions more so you can screw us again.”?

          • Devalue/default would mean Greece was thriving right now. Really thriving. Massive income from vacationers, massive olive oil exports, etc.

            Iceland knew what they were doing.

          • When you are in a hole you need to stop digging first. The EC & Euro put Greece in a hole. They have to stop borrowing. The EC will not let them stop borrowing. You see where that is going right? You are viewing the EC/Euro part of a solution while I am viewing as part of the problem,

            Think PayDay loans, or perhaps Mafia loan sharks. That is the way I see it.

          • Look, I don’t hold the EU blameless nor do I hold Greece blameless.

            Some people seem to act as if Germany and some other countries held a gun at Greece’s head and made it borrow money. Greece got itself in trouble. Then rather than making the cuts needed and taxing themselves in order to pay their debt they borrowed more money and dug their own hole deeper.

            If you borrow money from the bank you can’t pay back it’s a very bad idea to go to a Mafia loan shark to borrow the money.

            If you do make the mistake of borrowing from a loan shark and can’t pay then show up at their door and let them chop off your finger or kneecap you, if that’s the penalty. Don’t borrow more money to service the second loan and put yourself in the position that they’re going to take you for a swim where you wear concrete overshoes.

          • The problem for Greece at the moment is that their presence within the EC/Euro system forces their country and economy to be run by outsiders. A Grexit would allow and force them to call their own shots. Now granted their neo-liberal elites could still continue to accept bad economic deals but alt least like Iceland, they might could choose a different path.

            The same will be true for England. The point several of us here are trying to make is that the current EC/Euro systems are mired in bad economics and even worse un-democratic politics. The EC/Euro is a failed experiment. It is being kept on life-support, imho, because having a weak compliant Europe suits the U.S. hegemonic position.

          • “A Grexit would allow and force them to call their own shots. ”

            Then they should leave and find other sources for future loans. I’m sure their credit rating will be sterling.

            ” The EC/Euro is a failed exp eriment. It is being kept on life-support, imho, because having a weak compliant Europe suits the U.S. hegemonic position.”


          • Unfortunately there are many on the “left” that have this delusion that leaving the EU will lead to some form of democratically socialist nirvana. Whilst nice, this is rubbish unfortunately – the EU helps prevent many of the worst excess of the extreme neoliberals that we’ve subjected ourselves to be ruled by.

            I found this article summed my thinking about the UK leaving the EU.

            Plus the complete lack of any form of concrete plan in any way shape or form from the leave campaign. Except that Michael Gove, Nigel Farage and god help us, Boris bloody Johnson will be In Charge. Can’t think of owt worse.

            I will be voting to remain in the EU and the way in which EU regulation forces us to act on environmental protection (such as energy policy) and other similar areas (working time etc) are what convinced me. Plus and especially the nature of our scientific collaborations within the EU.

            Is the EU perfect? No. Absolutely not. It has serious faults within the structure of its governance, and in its transparency. That’s not an excuse to leave – especially given the undemocratic nature of our own system of government in the UK and the “Whitehall Bubble”

          • “The same will be true for England”
            A word to the USA. England is not the same entity as the UK.

        • If the Greeks could have seen where they are now they would have taken the Icelandic route.

        • Aye, but Germany knew that Greece would never be in a position to repay the money the EU was showering it with, both prior to accession and shortly afterwards

      • This is nonsense. Anyone watching closely, knows that most of it, the Greeks did to themselves.

        They paid lavish pensions and other social benefits which was never earned by the beneficiaries and was financed from debt.

        When it came to getting in the Euro-zone, they falsified their state-deficit and debt statistics (was revelaed by the next government when they got into trouble and couldn’t explain their sudden, huge deficits)

        The Germans just wanted to stop financing their ridiculously huge state deficits and nonsensical social benefits. I can’t blame them, the Greeks brought serious instability to the euro-zone.

        • You don’t punish an nation for what they did in the past, especially by putting them into a depression with no hope of recovery.

          The germans are simply stealing assets and jobs. Assets at 90% off and not even giving the greeks a stimulus for road work to create jobs.

          IT’s economic robbery.

          Economics isn’t a morality play.

          • “You don’t punish an nation for what they did in the past,”

            Certainly you do. Behavior has consequences.

            “especially by putting them into a depression with no hope of recovery.”

            This is where I fault Germany and the other EU participants. Greece should have been given a route back to solvency. Germany should understand the need for that more than just about any other country in the world. The extreme economic punishment of Germany following World War I led to the rise of Adolph Hitler.

        • It’s like all those naive bankers in the U.S. that gave all those home loans to people who couldn’t afford to pay. The ignorant bankers really got out-foxed by those street-smart shysters. Those shiftless home buyers then caused the biggest economic crash since the 30’s.

          There must be some way we can educate those poor bankers.

          I really feel for those Germans too. They just couldn’t stop themselves from giving all that money to Greece. How could they have not known that the Greeks were going to do something as stupid as pensions with the money. Now they are stuck with a bunch of broken antiquities and tiny worthless Islands in the Mediterranean.

  • A poll of foxes reports that no new fencing should be put in place around the current henhouse.

    Was this someone’s PR handout? This topic is quite a bit out of your bailiwick. You would have been better to have taken a pass on it. It’s full of one-sided, self-interested opinion and conjecture.

  • The Brexit should be handled heavy handed by the EU. Member countries should be made aware that there are serious advantages to belonging to the EU. It is so annoying that certain countries want all of the benefits of the EU but nothing of the responsibilities.

    If the British want to leave, fine, I would let them but let them know that they can forget about their EU trade zone priviledges as well. Let’s see how their industry and services sector handle that. (The last of their car-manufacturing plants would probably close in a year.)

    The standard EU trade tariffs for non-membership-aspirant countries would teach them the benefits of belonging to the EU pretty quickly.

    • It is not clear that there are advantages to belonging to the EU. The obsessive hard-money policy of the EU — *written into the treaties* at the insistence of lunatic German governments — has tanked every single economy in the EU, and that seems to outweigh pretty much any possible advantages.

    • Trade is a two way street, they ( the EU) come the hard man and we will see a lot less mercs, BMWs, fiats and Peugeots on British roads.

  • As a fully paid up member of team UK I can say hand on heart that regardless of if we stay or go the current Gov have no interest in clean tech or environmental matters whatsoever. Their current performance is shocking and freed of the EU they could do as they please.

    • Yep. The current UK government will be as hostile to the environment as they possibly can regardless of whether they are members of the EU or not.

      To change this would require electing a government which wasn’t Tory. (Labour, LibDems, SNP, Plaid, Greens, almost anyone would do.)

      • Not UKIP though. Certainly not UKIP. They’d be worse than the tories.

        For our US friends on here, UKIP (or United Kingdom Independence Party) were a single issue party whose raison d’etre was to get the UK to leave the EU such that they could build a neoliberal tax haven paradise.

        Some of them hold more extreme and batcrap crazy views than US Republican Congressmen. After the flooding of the Somerset levels a couple of years ago, one of them came out and claimed that it was vengeance from God for the UK govt recognising same-sex marriage.

        I believe some of them are also involved in the GWPF, along with quite a few ex-Tories.

        • Sex is the reason for all natural disasters. If everyone stops shagging, there will be nobody to notice natural disasters. Problem solved. Sincerely, God

      • Which we will never do while inside the EU all we will continue to do is elect parties that are ‘ big business’ friendly.
        While now we are out, there is hope of some kind of progressive coalition, not tomorrow or even next year, but once the Tories have torn themselves to shreds and labour sees Corbyn has a lot of support then mebbes something decent will emerge in British politics.

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