UK Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to notify him of the UK’s intention to leave the EU.

In a statement to Parliament, Mrs May said: “The Article 50 process is now underway. And in accordance with the wishes of the British people, the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union.

“This is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. Britain is leaving the European Union. We are going to make our own decisions and our own laws. We are going to take control of the things that matter most to us. And we are going to take this opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain. That is our ambition and our opportunity.”

The energy and environment sector is one which has been strongly driven by European legislation and there is considerable concern in the sector over what future environment policy will bring.

Paul Taylor, CEO of waste company FCC Environment, said: “With new research showing us that following EU waste policies post-Brexit could cost British businesses and households an additional £2 billion over the next 20 years, it is vital that the UK Government does not simply settle for the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach which has been previously adopted by EU environmental directives."

Institution of Civil Engineers’ Director General, Nick Baveystock, commented: “Our sector must work with government to take practical steps now to ensure UK infrastructure and construction remains globally competitive. Government needs help to get the best deal for UK, not a long list of industry asks. Brexit is coming: for years we have heard a mantra of “Government must” rather than “industry solve” this might now be about to change. We should separate the norm from the immediate needs of Brexit negotiators.

Speaking of research and skills, Baveystock continued:"We need to remain attractive to investors; UK R&D must still thrive; and we need more skilled workers than ever before to deliver our ambitious pipeline of infrastructure projects."