Where would we be without environmental legislation?
Last year, the UK Government announced a review into the EU's Balance of Competences- an audit into what the EU does and how this affects the UK. In June, they announced the start of the review of environmental and climate change legislation, asking for views from a range of stakeholders.
The Wildlife Trusts believe that EU membership has had a profound impact on the UK's environmental policy. In the 1970s and 80s, the UK earned the unattractive reputation for being the 'dirty man of Europe'. We have had the highest sulphur dioxide emissions in the EU and we pumped raw sewage into our seas.
EU membership forced the UK to clean up its act, which has led to significant improvements to our environment and health, as well as bringing economic gain through tourism. The EU also provides policies to protect UK wildlife through the Habitats and Birds Directives, creating the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. These sites protect some of our most important habitats and species at land and at sea. They are a key part of the foundation upon which nature’s recovery at land and at sea across England depends, and include such iconic areas as the New Forest in Hampshire, the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, Flamborough Head in Yorkshire, and Lyme Bay in Devon- why not learn more about some of these sites from the links above?
We responded to this review to highlight the benefits that working collaboratively to protect our environment can bring- both for our natural capital and for industry who are operating on a level playing field. These regulations can help ensure that truly sustainable development takes place whilst our environment, and the services it supplies, including clean air and water, are protected.