Brexit means we could lose strong protections for our environment; controls on air pollution, rules on water use, protections for wildlife and key habitats, scientific research, funding on projects and collaboration on tackling climate change. Yes, these laws have been transposed into our law, however, our laws make direct reference to the directives making them more or less meaningless without the authority of the directives that comes with membership of the EU. We cannot assume our government will replace these laws to the same level. They already sought to weaken the nature directives and are currently breaking EU air pollution laws. They have already failed to meet the number of protected areas they are supposed to establish. Our country is on the cusp of being in a state of deforestation. Our government is turning its back on tackling climate change with its commitment to fracking and slashing of renewables subsidies. Valuable habitats are continuously being destroyed due to the false belief that development solves everything. Under IUCN criteria we don’t actually have any ‘national parks’.
This is the main reason, amongst many others, why I awoke on Friday to see the result and burst into tears. I was inconsolable for the whole drive to work. It was only ranting with colleagues and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all that placated the tears. The fear of what this could mean for all our hard work was tangible in the air. I work for an environmental NGO (but all views here are entirely my own). One of my colleagues works on a brilliant EU funded project. It is only now that my feelings of impending doom are beginning to fade. But even so I feel the future is less bright than it was before 23rd June.