Regular readers of ENDS will have noticed our Brexit-related articles are often peppered with caveats such as “at the time of writing” and “as ENDS went to press”.
In common with many monthly publications, we have to contend with a time lag between sending our journal to the printers and it landing on subscribers’ desks. The twists and turns of the Brexit crisis mean it would be foolish for us to be confident about the Brexit position tomorrow, let alone in a few days’ time. Unlike the prime minister, we cannot request an extension to our deadline, and want to make it clear to our readers that circumstances may have changed after we go to press.
So at the risk of repeating myself, at the time of writing, some fundamental questions about Brexit remained unanswered. It seems a staggering statement to make so close to Brexit day.
Will the UK actually leave the EU on 29 March? If Brexit is delayed, for how long? Could no-deal still happen? Until these issues are resolved, the future shape of the UK’s environmental policy remains uncertain.
The government has sketched out its plans for post-Brexit environmental governance arrangements in its draft Environment Bill, published before Christmas. But as our cover story shows, much could change as the bill passes through parliament. MPs and peers have already drawn up “green lines” on what they consider acceptable. It seems clear the government will come under pressure to change key provisions.
When it comes to Brexit, we tend to find that the issues that appear uncertain when we go to press remain so when the journal arrives with subscribers. Could this time be different? Somehow I doubt it.