Friday, October 22, 2004

Hidden Europe

It had to be the increasingly facile Spectator (prop. Boris Johnson) that offered the latest example of "Hidden Europe", in which a whole article is written about the adverse effects of EU policy, without mentioning the EU once.

The feat itself has been achieved by one Ross Clark in his article "Rubbish policies" in which he condemns "the government’s" recycling regulations as a waste of time and money. But they are not the government's regulations. They come from the EU.

The strange thing is that Clark admirably catalogues the effects the regulations, from the portion of the Cambridgeshire countryside where he lives, that has resembled Dante’s Inferno, the horizon punctuated by plumes of acrid black smoke rising from farmyards and corners of isolated fields as farmers burn their plastic waste in anticipation of new rules which are about to be imposed.

But in his search for the cause, he goes to DEFRA – and no further. "It’s the result of the government’s latest initiative on recycling and waste disposal", he writes, entirely ignoring the EU’s waste framework directive which the government is dutifully implementing.

"The rules for disposing of waste are becoming so tortuous, and the costs so unreasonable, that it comes as little surprise that farmers should seek to dispose of their farm waste in one last, nationwide bonfire before the new rules come in.

And so he goes on in this vein: "There is no greater source of pollution in modern Britain than the government’s environmental policy. They are all terribly well-meaning, these recycling schemes, these landfill taxes, all this licensing of waste dumps. The only trouble is that they are making things worse."

This is a very stupid man, an ignorant man – or worse. It is not "the government’s environmental policy". We have not had our own environmental policy since "environment" was introduced as a Community competence nearly twenty years ago with the Single European Act.

"Take fly-tipping", he adds. Yes, let’s take fly-tipping, you stupid man. The epidemic is directly a result of firstly the landfill tax and then the closure down the bulk of the toxic waste tips in the UK as a direct result of EU law.

Guess what. It has increased by 40 per cent in the past two years. Rubbish is being dumped in lay-bys, fields and woods at a bewildering rate. Between April and July this year there were 55,000 incidents of fly-tipping in Yorkshire alone. It isn’t just the countryside, either. There have been cases of gangs renting warehouses on business parks, filling them to the ceiling with waste and doing a runner.

Nice examples Ross. Pity you didn’t do your research and write a decent article around them.

No comments:

Post a Comment