Environmental Protection and Law

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Environmental protection has been held to be a ‘wall breaker’ for the EU, as already in the 1970s it pushed the EU project beyond its economic foundations to include broader concerns of human wellbeing. Since then, over 200 secondary legislative instruments on a wide range of environmental topics have been adopted. Additionally, the EU has increasingly integrated environmental considerations into other areas of EU law. It is estimated that nowadays 70-80% of national environmental legislation in the Member States is of EU origin. This chapter will first briefly introduce the fundamental elements of EU environmental law (and its basis in the Treaties). It will then discuss three different aspects of EU environmental regulation, which have made significant contributions to environmental protection in the UK. Against this backdrop, it will discuss the implications of Brexit for environmental protection in the UK and Scotland, concluding that despite risks of lowering protection levels, there are also opportunities for more ambitious approaches and for the recognition of local needs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudying EU Law in Scotland during and after Brexit
EditorsNicole Busby, Rebecca Zahn
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherScottish Universities' Legal Network on Europe
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • environmental protection
  • European Union
  • EU
  • EU environmental law
  • Brexit
  • nature conservation
  • environmental rights


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