The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has announced it will hold a public inquiry to assess the effectiveness of European environmental policy in the UK, ahead of the nation’s planned in-out EU referendum.
The inquiry, which is now open for written submissions, will investigate the merits and drawbacks of determining environmental policy at an EU level for the UK, along with the implications of such policies on the UK environment.
Specifically, the EAC is looking for answers to key questions around the balance between EU environmental frameworks and national approaches; the impact EU environmental policies have had on UK businesses; and the role of the EU as an international negotiator on environmental issues.
The EAC hopes the inquiry will inform the in-out debate ahead of the referendum on EU membership that the Conservative Government has committed to holding by the end of 2017, following a renegotiation of the UK’s terms of membership.
Presumably the referendum won’t happen before the inquiry is over? We shall see.
From the Gov.uk webpage setting out the terms of reference:
Inquiry: Assessment of EU/UK environmental policy
Environmental Audit Committee
The inquiry will first look at the merits and drawbacks of determining environmental policy at an EU level for the UK and, secondly, look at the implications of such policies on the UK environment. The Committee does not intend to examine the Common Agricultural Policy, owing to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Committee’s ongoing work in this area.
Questions to consider
We invite responses on some, or all, of the following sets of questions:
Objective 1: To understand the objectives of EU environmental policies, and the extent to which they have helped to address the most important environmental issues to the UK.
What advantages and/or disadvantages does environmental policy making at the EU level offer for the UK?
Has the right balance between the objective of setting a flexible common EU framework for tackling cross-border environmental problems, and allowing for distinct national approaches to be taken into account been achieved?
How successful has the implementation of EU environmental policy and the role of the EU as an international negotiator on environmental issues been for the UK? In areas where this has fallen short, where could improvements be made?
Objective 2: To understand the implications of EU environmental policies on UK environmental protection.
Have EU environmental policies taken into account the specific character of environmental issues in the UK?
How effective have EU environmental policies been in addressing environmental issues in the UK? What work still needs to be done?
What impact has EU environmental policy had on the UK’s businesses which are affected by the policies?
The deadline for submissions is 20 November 2015 and the word limit is 3,000 words. Written submissions can be sent via the inquiry page.
This article originally appeared on Tallbloke’s Talkshop