Town Planning Review 88.2: Featured Article

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Megan Ainsworth

The editors of TPR have selected 'The EU referendum, planning and the environment: where now for the UK?' by Richard Cowell as the Featured Article for the latest issue. It will be free to access for three months. You can access the article here.


When asked to describe the paper, and highlight its importance, the author stated the following:

The UK’s departure from the European Union, or ‘Brexit’, is held up as a process with profound consequences for British society, the economy and the environment and so, by implication, for the world in which planning operates. Specifying those consequences is immensely difficult, however, given that factual information is limited; opinion is abundant but conflictual, often heatedly so. This article seeks to outline the likely effects on planning in the UK arising from Brexit, especially through the interface with environmental policy, drawing on the viewpoints of planning practitioners but also wider evidence of where, how, and how far planning British has been ‘Europeanised’.


One key argument is that, actually some future scenarios for UK planning post-Brexit may be extrapolations of trends already powerfully at work, notably the prospect of further erosion of environmental constraints and procedural rights and the intensification of pro-growth policies. Other issues spotlighted by the EU referendum raise new questions. How will a surge in concerns about immigration, sovereignty and identity shape planning and environmental policy? As well as wrestling with the legal minutiae of the EU policy inheritance, UK planning and environmental bodies must figure out how to negotiate a world in which elites are mistrusted, the benefits of international collaboration are questioned, and ‘putting Britain first’ is a narrative with increased power.

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