Commenting on today’s publication of the Government’s Balance of Competences Review between the UK and the European Union (EU) in the areas of environment and climate change, Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Executive Director – Policy said:

We welcome the recognition that it is in the UK’s national interest for certain environment and climate change policies to be determined at the European level.”

The Review is intended to provide an informed and objective analysis of what EU membership means for the UK. The report, led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), examines the EU’s competence (power to act) in the areas of the environment and climate change.

With many IEMA members working in roles that cover environmental performance in multiple countries within the EU and globally, and with experiences that are directly relevant to the Balances of Competences Review, IEMA provided evidence as part of the review in August 2013. Elements of IEMA’s evidence are cited included in the published report.

While there has long been a recognition of the impact of economic activity on the environment, there is growing evidence to show that the environment will limit and constrain economic activity. It is essential that the costs of environmental damage and pollution are internalised in the European Single Market to create a level playing field, ensure environmental protection and deliver a sustainable economy,” said Baxter.

For many areas of environmental policy, significant improvements can be achieved through people who apply appropriate environmental skills and competence. However, this rarely forms the basis of implementation plans at national and European level. A more structured approach to embedding skills provision in the delivery of European environment and climate change policy is urgently required,” said Baxter.