Government consults on EU policy ahead of referendum

Government consults on EU policy ahead of referendumThe government’s Environmental Audit Committee is holding a public inquiry to assess European Union (EU) environmental objectives ahead of the referendum on EU membership.

Interested stakeholders are invited to respond to the inquiry, which aims to determine the extent to which EU environmental objectives and policies have succeeded in tackling environmental issues in the UK.

The EAC’s role in government is to consider how the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies impact on environmental protection and sustainable development. It is chaired by Labour MP Huw Irranca-Davies and counts MPs Zac Goldsmith and Caroline Lucas among its members, as well as Resources Minister Rory Stewart.

The select committee says that responses to the inquiry will be used to ‘inform the debate’ ahead of the referendum on EU membership that the present government has committed to holding by the end of 2017.

The inquiry, which is accepting submissions until 20 November, looks at two aspects of European policy.

Firstly, respondents are asked to consider the merits and drawbacks of decisions on environmental policy being made at an EU level for the UK. This includes the question of:

  • what advantages and disadvantages policy made at the EU level offers the UK;
  • whether the right balance between setting flexible framework across the EU for tackling cross-border environmental problems and letting national governments create distinct national approaches is achieved; and
  • how successful the implementation of EU environmental policy has been and whether the EU has succeeded as an international negotiator on environmental issues.

The second part of the inquiry addresses the implications of such policies on the UK environment. As part of this line of inquiry, respondents are asked to consider:

  • whether EU environmental policies have taken into account the specific character of environmental issues in the UK;
  • how effective EU environmental policies have been in addressing environmental issues in the UK; and
  • what impact EU environmental policy has had on the UK’s businesses affected by them.

Find out more or respond to the EAC’s Assessment of EU/UK environmental policy.