Environmental Risk Assessment post-Brexit: Science, policy and regulation

Grantham Scholar Lowenna Jones researches regulatory approaches to environmental risk in the UK post-Brexit.

The project

Alongside climate change and biodiversity loss, chemical pollution is one of the top three environmental crises the global community faces. Recent reports warn the production and release of large volumes of diverse toxic substances and mixtures is exceeding society’s ability to operate safely, with their associated effects demonstrating the potential to cause widespread damage to environmental and human health.

Regulatory frameworks enacted across regional, national, and global scales have emerged in response to the hazardous effects of chemical substances. The process in which products are regulated shapes the way companies access markets and trade or sell their goods. In the UK, chemical regulations have long operated within the institutional, regulatory frameworks of the European Union (EU), where regulatory decisions are largely based on the environmental assessment of risk. The EU currently enacts more than forty different chemical legislations, regulating the use of harmful chemical substances, however there is growing concern that current regulatory efforts are no longer fit for purpose.

The regulation of risk is a live topic of research across the globe, particularly within European studies following the recent departure of the UK from the European Union (i.e., ‘Brexit’). Brexit has cast a considerable cloud over the future of both EU and UK environmental policy with the full effects of which yet to be fully assessed. Failure to properly consider scientific advice within regulatory policy can have wide-ranging political and environmental implications, which has particular significance in post-Brexit UK as new domestic approaches to the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (UKREACH) is developed and rolled out.

It is therefore a timely moment to assess regulatory approaches to environmental risk as the UK is tasked by the development of its own environmental policies.

This project is funded by NERC as part of the ECORISC CDT program.

Social media

You find Lowenna Jones on Twitter.

And you can find her on LinkedIn.

ECORISC CDT website: https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/ecorisc/#tab-5 


Lowenna B. Jones, Charlotte J. Burns (2024), REACHing for divergence?—UK chemical regulation post-Brexit, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management ISSN1551-3777


Prof Charlotte Burns

Department of Politics and International Relations