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Mergers of NDPBs - an environmental context

28 June 2017

The Cabinet Office has published departmental guidance on the classification of public bodies, with further guidance to be published this year. The guidance recommends promoting efficiency and accountability amongst arm’s-length bodies and establishing coherent categories of arms-length bodies. Over the years, a significant number of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) with environmental functions have been created. More recently these bodies have been rationalised and merged.

Whilst there may be thoughts that further mergers of environmental regulators should take place, our view is that only if this is a necessary prerequisite of Brexit will this happen in the short term. Brexit could have significant consequences for environmental regulation in the UK, given that so much of the current body of environmental law is EU derived. The Great Repeal Bill White Paper (30 March 2017) states: “The Great Repeal Bill will ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law.” We see no reason for the outcome of the election on 8 June 2017 to alter this commitment. So as part of Brexit, the Government may well need to allocate functions currently discharged by EU institutions either to itself or potentially to existing or new environmental NDPBs.

Browne Jacobson recently held a round table on 'Our changing state: mergers and demergers of Non-Departmental Public Bodies' – read a copy of our report.

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