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Brexit: The marine governance horrendogram just got more horrendous!

Boyes, Suzanne J.; Elliott, Michael


Suzanne J. Boyes

Michael Elliott


On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the British people voted in a referendum on the following question: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ Of the 33,551,983 who voted, 51.9% (17,410,742) voted to leave (48.1% voted to remain). Although there is an agreed basic framework, as there is no precedent for a country leaving the European Union (EU), there is a lack of clarity surrounding the process and timetable for Brexit.1 The UK has to reformulate its relationship with the rest of the EU during a 2-year period triggered by the request to leave under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (effective 2009). The start of that ‘divorce settlement’ is triggered by the Member State (the UK) and as yet (July 2016) the UK Government position is not to trigger Article 50 until their negotiating position has been defined internally. The 2-year period is separate to the ‘framework agreement’ with the rest of Europe which will take an undefined time to negotiate. The latter will be a reversal of the lengthy process of joining the EU to ensure alignment of the Member State laws with EU law, and could possibly take between 10 and 20 years. So what does all this mean for the future of the marine environment of a dominant maritime state such as the UK? Building on our previous work in the Marine Pollution Bulletin and elsewhere (Boyes and Elliott, 2014, 2015), we take the current legislation giving protection and management to the UK marine environment and consider how this could and should change depending on the exit scenario chosen and the impact this would have on UK marine environmental governance. We define governance here as the policies, politics, administration and legislation and reflect on the importance of the vertical hierarchy of legislative instruments from the local to the global (Elliott, 2014).


Boyes, S. J., & Elliott, M. (2016). Brexit: The marine governance horrendogram just got more horrendous!. Marine pollution bulletin, 111(1-2), 41-44.

Acceptance Date Aug 3, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 15, 2016
Publication Date Oct 15, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Marine pollution bulletin
Print ISSN 0025-326X
Electronic ISSN 1879-3363
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 111
Issue 1-2
Pages 41-44
Keywords Aquatic Science; Pollution; Oceanography
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Marine pollution bulletin, 2016, v.111, issue 1-2


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