In May last year an Archaeological Forum briefing predicted that given how deeply the EU laws are embedded in domestic law, any change “is likely to take many years, with many laws remaining in place for years or decades”.
Since then however the mood music has been changing progressively and it’s now clear that Brexit will mean less spending on environmental and archaeological protection. The EU habitats directive is to be repealed and there’s scant hope it will be replaced with anything as effective. Already that nice Mr Gove has urged that we “Slash EU regulations on wildlife protection and drug safety trials after Brexit“.
The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee is very concerned. They say an effective enforcement system will be needed to fill the vacuum left by the European Commission but they lack confidence in Government intentions about that even though they had “heard evidence that 80 per cent of the public support at least the same level, if not higher levels of environmental protection post-Brexit.”