It's notable that in the Brexit debate 'environment' was largely presented in terms of 'regulations' that we can finally be relieved from. The alarm among environmental organisations is justified. European Directives are the basis of much of our environmental practice, notably the Habitats Directive, the Birds Directive and the Water Framework Directive. It's also been pointed out that Brexit has the potential to derail the Paris climate agreement. We need to transfer the Directives into national law to stand a chance of protecting what we have. The environment is seen as a fringe issue in politics, but the numbers engaged in environmental activities from watching Countryfile upwards are huge. I have now joined the RSPB and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust so that I can now count clearly as one of these people.
The other issue is food security. We currently produce less than 2/3 of the food we consume; given the likely pressures on global food production from extreme weather, this is not the ideal time to leave a continental scale free market in food. We must surely increase levels of home grown food production of we are not to face sudden crises in the future. This means valuing food, and valuing the land it is grown on. The downward pressure on food prices is making UK farming less viable, and the pressure on peri-urban areas is to build, not to farm.
And, of course, these pressures have been here anyway - its just we can no longer expect the EU to give us the support we need. As the Brexiter campaigners have said, we need to gain control. I agree. We really do need to gain control - control from the current, short-term political games that are wreaking so much havoc while the longer term issues are ignored.