Local Government must be given a 'seat around the table' when it comes to deciding how to replace EU laws, council leaders have insisted.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils would be central to bringing communities back together after the EU referendum campaign split the country in two, but they must also be part of the negotiation team.
In a statement following the UK’s decision to leave the union, the LGA said: 'EU laws and regulations impact on many council services, such as waste, employment, health and safety, consumer protection and trading and environmental standards.
‘There cannot be an assumption that power over these services is simply transferred from Brussels to Westminster.
‘If services are delivered locally, the power over how to run them should rest locally too.
‘Decades of centralised control over funding and services has distanced our residents from the decisions that affect their everyday lives.
‘With greater control in our areas we can improve services and save money. Communities in England have been allocated £5.3bn of EU regeneration funding up to 2020.
‘It is important for the Government to guarantee it will protect this vital funding to avoid essential growth-boosting projects stalling and local economies across England being stifled.
‘The LGA will continue to represent the interests of English councils in Brussels as the UK’s exit from the EU is negotiated.’
The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) also called for local government to be 'fairly represented' within EU exit negotiations and for councils to be fully consulted on changes to budgets and regulations.
APSE national chair, cllr Martin Reilly, said: 'We now need a UK wide and sector representative local government forum to work with central government on responding to the EU exit.
'Such a forum needs to be fully representative of the whole of local government and should be one which understands the full intricacies of local council services and the interface with EU regulations. Only then will we be able to ensure the best possible outcomes for local councils and the communities they serve.'