UK Environmental policy goes head to head with the EU in DECC/DEFRA led consultation
21 May 2013
Two environmental UK departments: DEFRA and the DECC are launching a joint consultation intowhether or not the UKís environmental and climate policies are benefitted or diminished by being a part of the EU.
The consultation, a part of the governmentís Balance of Competences review, implies that current EU legislation may not be providing the desired balance between protecting the environment and the wider economic interests of the UK.
Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of limiting the role played by the EU in the development of UK environmental policy and the wider implications of global environmental schemes with be the subject for some of the key enquiries of the consultation which will run for 12 weeks until the 12th of August 2013.
Climate change as a government policy affects many businesses in the UK through regulation such as Mandatory Carbon Reporting and CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme obligations and so UK organisations are encouraged to submit their views on EU environmental policy and itís effect on UK climate and economic interests to the two departments with the government expected to respond by producing 32 reports by autumn 2014, reviewing all of its commitments within the EU.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said that the findings of the consultation will contribute to a national debate on the environment, climate change and the EU, but will not contribute towards specific policy recommendations.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: "This is the first time that people are being asked directly how individual EU policies affect them and their businesses. It's important that we understand how policies on the environment and climate change affect people living and working with them in everyday life.
"I look forward to hearing the views of businesses and others as they will help inform future discussions and debates on Europe." (via Edie)
Other options should Mr Cameronís government decide to resign the UK from the EU are; to sign to the European Economic Area and join Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein in the group which participates in the Internal EU Market without membership and adopts almost all EU legislation related to the single market with the exception of environmental policy. The UK could also consider the European Free Trade Agreement as an alternative which performs in a similar way to the European Economic Area with a focus on freedom of policy and trade.
Either of the above moves could, however, weaken Europe wide environmental protection policy especially those regarding habitats, birds and bathing waters warn Friends of the Earth in a paper warning issued on the 13th of May 2013.
Efforts to combat climate change by UK businesses have increased dramatically of late and Comply Directís Business Development and Marketing Manager, Laura Bennett, commented that, ďany consultation which reviews the relationship between successful economic return and managing climate change can only be a positive thing for UK businesses.Ē