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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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Pandering to the deregulation agenda

Posted: Thursday 3rd October 2013 by Joan

Here we go again....

Yesterday, the European Commission responded to calls to slim-down its approach to regulation as opinion polls across the continent suggest that citizens feel that Brussels is out of touch with them.

The Commission’s ‘Refit’ approach – in which they plan to analyse whether bits of European legislation are over-burdensome on business – is being extended to include the withdrawal of important proposals to protect soils and improve the ability of people to get access to justice on local environmental issues. The Commission have also decided to take yet another look at the fitness of an area where the case is already settled; the Natura 2000 network established by the Birds and Habitats Directives.

This network of protected sites plays a crucial role in protecting wild places and wildlife in the UK and across Europe. Just last year, a thorough review by Defra in the UK showed that “in the large majority of cases the implementation of the Directives is working well, allowing both development of key infrastructure and ensuring that a high level of environmental protection is maintained.” In fact if there is a problem, it’s a lack of proper implementation, which means that the full benefits aren’t achieved for people, wildlife and planners. We fully hope and expect that the European Commission will come to the same conclusion.

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