Construction, Conservation, Collaboration?
By Nick Harper, Partner, Harper Landscape Architecture LLP, 25/04/16 http://www.harperlandscapearchitecture.co.uk
For full paper go to following link
On the 23rd June 2016 the UK Referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union will have been determined and the impact upon, the natural and built environment, and professionals working in these fields, will start to emerge.
As a landscape architect managing a practice its important for me to understand what impacts there might be.
Whilst little is written in favour of Brexit’s environmental policies, their argument could be put forward as follows. Much of the red tape, particularly with regard to procurement of public built environment projects, may be removed, the UK indigenous construction industry population may have greater work opportunities in the UK and environment policies could adapt to specific UK issues more easily. The campaign to stay believes that the environment is better protected by Europe, that a large marketplace of potential work opportunities will be lost by leaving and that there would be a significant loss of skilled workers, academics and students. If we believe that collaboration is key for the built environment with the inherent exchange of ideas and resources for mutual interest the campaign to stay in Europe would argue that it is counter intuitive to be considering going it alone. However the Brexit argument would counter this by saying it is futile to collaborate with the wrong collaborators.
It would appear that there is a high risk of change for the natural and built environment should the country vote to leave the EU and that this choice is not favoured by most of the environmental and built environment specialists who have written articles on the subject to date. However this may be because so far the Brexit campaign have not prepared a robust environmental argument for these groups to buy into.
It is also unclear whether any potential long term economic benefits that Brexit are projecting as a result of leaving would lead to an injection of capital for greater protection of the natural environment or to invigorate construction nor whether this benefit may have occurred by staying in Europe anyway.
In the interests of my practice I believe that being in Europe offers; greater protection of the natural environment; a more diverse and multi-cultural working and learning environment; and a larger, more accessible and collaborative marketplace.