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Joan Edwards

Joan Edwards is the Head of Living Seas at The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

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Legal protection of nature: a political hot potato?

Posted: Thursday 9th May 2013 by LivingSeas

EU flag

The UK’s membership of the European Union is the hot political issue of the moment and behind the scenes, the UK Government is already gathering evidence on the value, or otherwise, of EU regulation.

In July last year, Foreign Secretary William Hague launched the so-called Balance of Competences review to ‘provide a profound analysis of what our membership of the EU means now and for our future’. The review’s outcomes could form the basis of a future renegotiation of the UK’s relationship with the EU.

As part of the Balance of Competences review, Defra will shortly launch a ‘Call for Evidence’ on EU environmental regulation including the Wild Birds Directive 1979, Habitats Directive 1992, Water Framework Directive 2000 and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008. These Directives currently provide the legal framework for the protection and restoration of nature across Europe and are therefore of profound importance to The Wildlife Trusts.

Last year, we successfully demonstrated to Government that implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives in England was not ‘gold plated’ or a block on economic growth. The Wildlife Trusts will engage fully with the Balance of Competences review and provide evidence on how these Directives help protect the UK’s rarest and most threatened habitats and species.

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