UK Environmental Governance Post-Brexit: What Will Happen to Waste?

This research project assesses the factors likely to shape UK waste policy as it leaves the European Union and identifies future scenarios for the directions that policy could take.

As the UK begins to leave the European Union, it heralds a period of significant uncertainty for environmental governance. In few sectors are the potential impacts as profound as in waste and resources, where 40 years of EU action have helped transform waste treatment in the UK from landfill-based disposal towards greater recycling and tighter environmental controls.

We have produced a briefing report to spark debate about the potential effects of Brexit on future policy directions in the UK waste and resources management sector. The report seeks to move beyond the simplistic categories of ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit, to foster more considered reflection on the potential policy pathways arising from leaving the EU, and the factors that could shape their emergence.

The project was supported by the ESRC, under Cardiff University’s Impact Acceleration Fund, and draws on documentary analysis and interviews with actors involved in waste and resources management.


The project team

Principal investigator

Dr Richard Cowell

Professor Richard Cowell

Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning

Team