The European Union is an important factor in the fight against proposals to build an airport in the Thames Estuary. There are currently 84 EU Special Protection Areas (SPAs) in England. The greater Thames Estuary contains 5 of these, Thames Estuary and Marshes - Outer Thames Estuary - Medway Estuary and Marshes - Benfleet and Southend Marshes and The Swale, representing about 6% of the total.
The birds and habitats directives are two of more than 200 pieces of environmental legislation passed down by the EU to member states. They cover almost every aspect of the natural world and quality of life:- Pollution of our drinking, bathing and river water: Emissions from and air quality of factories, road transport, aircraft The disposal of waste and our carbon trading.
The history of environment regulation in Europe is curious: The DG (Directorates-General) Environment was started in 1973,16 years after the original European Economic Community was founded.
Once a “Common Market” existed, however, it was inevitable that common product standards and regulations would be required, and eventually some would be environmental.
This history is reflected in early conservation initiatives and was passed primarily so EU countries operated on a level playing field.
Nik Shelton, an RSPB spokesman said “They didn’t create the regulations because they loved birds, it was an economic decision so no member country would have an advantage over another” effectively stopping the trashing of the environment to build up infrastructure.
What started as an economic imperative has become, an environmental force in its own right, fostering a new breed of environment ministers with real concern about quality of life and health.
Taken from Green Eco Path read full blog