EU and UK action on environment and climate change review

Readers of this blog may recall a post on recent endeavours to weaken environmental protection. The erosion appears to be continuing ….

Defra and DECC launch a consultation into EU action on the environment and climate change

The press release on Gov.UK explains that

Businesses and organisations are being asked for their views on European Union policies to find out whether being a part of the EU helps or hinders their work on the environment and climate change.

In the first review of its kind, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have launched a consultation into EU action on the environment and climate change to ask how businesses, experts and individuals feel they impact on the UK. Charities, think tanks and businesses will have an opportunity to put forward their views.

The 12 week consultation is part of a wider review known as the Balance of Competences which was launched by the Foreign Secretary William Hague last July. Its aim is to take forward the Coalition commitment to examine the balance of power between the EU and the UK.

Groups will be asked about issues such as how far they think the UK might benefit from the EU taking more or less action on the environment and climate change and whether EU legislation provides the right balance between protecting the environment and the wider UK economic interest.

The consultation is open until 12 August 2013. The findings will be published next winter and will contribute to a national debate on the environment, climate change and the EU, but will not make specific policy recommendations.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said:
“The Balance of Competences Review is an opportunity for people and interest groups from across the spectrum to have their say on how the action we take to tackle climate change in the EU and beyond impacts on the UK.”

“I would strongly urge people to take advantage of this opportunity, make their views known, and help inform this important national debate. I look forward to hearing the views of interested parties during the course of the Call for Evidence.”

If you click on another link it takes you through to the Call for Evidence, you begin to see the challenge emerging. Whatever our individual views are on the imperfections of the EU, its legislation has safeguarded internationally important wildlife sites as well as ensuring safe drinking water and other ‘essentials’ for improving the quality of our lives.

Thorne and Hatfield Moors SSSI would almost certainly have been dug up and sold as ‘multi purpose compost’, the sands and gravels extracted from under Hatfield Moors and then big holes in the ground are useful ….

It is clear that in many areas of environment policy the EU has been a key driver of progress within the UK. Air and water pollution, waste and recycling, the regulation of chemicals and pesticides and the protection of nature have all been progressed because of the EU, would a UK Government have taken such a stance when it is so clearly influenced by business? It is important to remember the good and positive benefits brought about by EU legilation.

So, can we as ‘citizens’ rise to the challenge, can individuals, groups and organisations rise to carpe diem? Can we take the opportunity and put forward ‘citizen science’ and evidence the need for parity and equality, for transparency and accountability when economics are valued more that quality of life and a healthy natural environment?

In the words of Edmund Burke “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little”.

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