© Wild Wonders of Europe / Juan Carlos Munoz / WWF
What is the impact of Brexit on the future EU/UK relationship on environmental policies?
On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union, after over 45 years as a member. During this time, the EU has developed a body of environmental law (the environmental acquis) which aims to protect species, habitats, and rivers, regulate wildlife and timber trade, and limit air pollution across the EU. 

While there remains considerable uncertainty on the shape of the future EU/UK relationship, the way in which environmental issues are dealt with can have serious impacts on citizens across Europe.

What WWF is doing

In the EU, WWF as part of the Green10 has developed a position on EU-UK collaboration in the field of environmental protection, to advise decision-makers in the EU on how to address environmental matters in the ongoing negotiations. 

Due to the transboundary nature of environmental issues and shared commitments on climate change and sustainable development, WWF believes that commitments by both the UK and the EU27 to maintaining high standards and enforceability of environmental rules is needed in any agreement, as well as continued close cooperation, with the objective of strengthening rules for legitimate public interest purposes. 

Policy timeline

  • 29 March 2019: UK leaves the EU
  • 31 December 2020: End of the transition period following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU


Tycho Vandermaesen
Head, Public Affairs
Rebecca Humphries
Senior Public Affairs Officer