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Baker Botts’ Environmental Partners Comment on Brexit


LONDON, 29 June 2016 - Baker Botts L.L.P., a leading international law firm, provides an environmental outlook by partners, Christopher Norton and Aileen Hooks on the historic “Brexit” vote, its implications and possible next steps.

The UK has a long history of legislation (as well as the common law) relating to the prevention of pollution and protection of the environment, but there is no doubt that in recent years the main impetus for legislation in this area has come from the EU. The Industrial Emissions Directive, Waste Framework Directive, Habitats Directive, Water Directive, Environmental Liability Directive  and the REACH (chemicals) Regulation - together referred to as the "Environmental Acquis" - all play a very significant role in UK environmental law. In addition, there is considerable overlap with EU integrated Energy law and policy in the form of the EU Emissions Trading Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewables Directive, and all of these policies and laws are deeply embedded into UK policy and law.

Moreover, even after Brexit, UK manufacturers and other UK companies importing products into the EU will still need to ensure that their products comply with EU environmental product legislation such as, REACH and its sister regulation, the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulation, the Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) and EU legislation relating to product design e.g. to enhance the re-use, re-manufacture and recycling of products.

Therefore, it is difficult to envisage that post-Brexit, the UK will wish (or have the capacity) to undertake a wholesale repeal or amendment of existing EU-based environmental legislation and even if it did, the implementation of any changes is likely to take many years to come about.


Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 650 lawyers practicing throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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