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University research sets out opportunities for environmental policy post-Brexit

The research focuses primarily on ecosystems and fisheries policy opportunities after we leave the EU.

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Image Credit: Steven Ruffles

Researchers at the University have contributed to a study outlining how farming and fishing could be changed to emphasise employment opportunity and decrease environmental impacts after Brexit. In a press release on the University’s website, researchers warned that although Brexit would enable the country's industrial vision to shift away from environmentally harmful mass production, a no-deal Brexit would compromise that opportunity due to the barriers in trade and legislation that would emerge as a result.

The outlook for a no-deal Brexit looks bleak. In the fishing industry, the imposition of trade rules under the defaults of the World Trade Organisation could lead to tariffs anywhere from 7.5 per cent to 24 per cent on seafood imports. Commenting on how Brexit might affect British exports, the lead author of the study, Dr. Bryce Stewart, said that the “UK would find itself under pressure to lower environmental protections and welfare standards across the farming and fishing industries to be competitive in markets outside the EU.”

Another author of the study, Sue Hartley, asked that policymakers remember the value of protecting Britain's “public goods”, and recognising that healthy environments had huge benefits, both for resource extraction, and in improving the quality of life of Britain’s citizens. There is also a risk that leaving the EU will weaken existing environmental protection." The report makes a number of recommendations, including giving a greater voice to local stakeholders, reforming farming subsidies, introducing larger protected marine areas, and further developing the relationships between environmental scientists and the fishing industry to ensure fish stocks are managed effectively post-Brexit.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the University added that plenty of Brexit re-searches was derived from universities. “University research, including that from the University of York, is drawn by policymakers in public bodies and in the government.” “Research from universities enables policymakers to make more informed decisions when drawing up often complex policies which then can impact on communities.”

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