Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who needs the EU?

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 21 June 2007 (WA 71), which European Union legislation contributed to current waste disposal requirements in the United Kingdom; whether such requirements would be in force in the absence of such legislation, and if so, on what grounds.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker):

The Government's Waste Strategy for England, published in May 2007, summarises the Government's waste policies. Chapter 3 of the strategy covers the main legislation on waste disposal requirements and explains that most waste regulation in the UK is derived from EU legislation on waste. The principal EU directives controlling waste disposal are the waste framework directive, which was first adopted in 1975 and which is about to be revised and updated, and the landfill directive, agreed in 1999, which sets targets for the diversion of municipal waste from landfill. There are a number of other directives; for example, on waste incineration and hazardous waste.

The principal objectives of EU waste legislation, which the Government fully endorse, are that waste be managed in a way that does not harm the environment or endanger human health, and that waste policies should contribute to action against climate change. It is therefore likely that, in the absence of any EU requirements, successive UK Governments would have put similar legislation in place.
We would have done it all anyway – all by our little selves. Just like everything else.

The worst of this is, though, that the statement is probably true. That is why leaving the EU is a necessary step towards restoring our ability to govern ourselves, it is not, in itself, sufficient. That would only be the start of the process.