EU Referendum

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union. This decision will have a substantial impact on science and the environment.

EU Flag
MPD01605/Flickr

We are currently recruiting for members of our Brexit Policy Working Group. Find out more

Our position

Many ecological issues are of international concern and impact, so effective cross-border collaboration is essential to address these global challenges. In the UK, environmental policy and legislation currently operate within a framework predominantly shaped by the EU. It is essential that we retain the successful components for effective environmental protection within the UK, and that we ensure that any changes in legislation as a consequence of the vote to leave the EU are informed by the best ecological evidence.

International research collaboration, which the EU has done much to support and foster, is vital for advancing ecological science and for our members. Maintaining funding levels, strong international partnerships and the free movement of people and ideas will be critical, and we will work closely with the wider scientific community to protect UK science and higher education from the potential adverse effects of leaving the EU.

Read our full statement on the outcome of the referendum

Latest news

Making Brexit work for ecology and the environment, 12 December

Join our workshop at the 2016 BES Annual Meeting to help shape our approach to engaging with the Brexit process during 2017.

Meeting with Brexit Minister

On 30 November we met with Robin Walker MP, Minister for Exiting the European Union, at the Zoological Society of London as part of a coalition of environmental science and conservation organisations. Find out more.

BES and other organisations meet Brexit Minister Robin Walker
BES and other organisations meet Brexit Minister Robin Walker

Previous Events

People, Politics and the Planet: Any Questions, 21 July

People, Politics and the Planet: Any Questions 2016 Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Our second People, Politics and the Planet debate, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Sibthorp Trust, saw a panel of leading politicians and experts discuss the next steps for the UK environment following the referendum.

Chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, the panel was:

  • George Eustice MP, Conservatives, Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment
  • Baroness Kate Parminter, Liberal Democrats, Spokesperson for Environment and Rural Affairs
  • Natalie Bennett, Green Party, Leader
  • Kerry McCarthy MP, Labour
  • Stuart Agnew MEP, UKIP, Agriculture Spokesperson
  • Martin Nesbit, Senior Fellow, Institute for European Environmental Policy

Making Brexit work for Ecology and Conservation Science, 7 September

Hosted by the Zoological Society of London in partnership with our Conservation Special Interest Group, the Campaign for Science and Engineering and Wildlife and Countryside Link, this evening event examined the challenges and opportunities for ecology and conservation science post-Brexit. Speakers included Professor Sir John Beddington and Professor Sue Hartley.

Find out more and download the presentations