Defra has published a report that shows that European Union targets to increase recycling have benefited the UK.
In the Review of the Competences between the United Kingdom and European Union, Defra looked and how EU membership had affected the UK in both the environment and climate change.
While the report found that there had been cost consequences for businesses as a result of EU environmental legislation, it also said that recycling targets had been beneficial.
The report said: “The Government has recognised the need for an open-minded debate around EU competence on the environment and climate change within the context of finding an appropriate balance and exploiting synergies between the need for economic growth and a sustainable approach to the future.
“While there can be tensions between environmental standards and competitiveness, the evidence paints a more nuanced picture in which some sectors of business welcome some degree of cross-EU environmental regulation.
“For example, EU targets on waste and on climate change were seen by many as providing greater certainty for investors and an important spur for growth in the rapidly expanding environmental and low carbon services sector.
“In addition, EU regulation on chemicals and other environmental standards was also seen by many businesses as important in providing a level playing field across the Single Market.”
In a chapter entitled Future Opportunities and Challenges, respondents to the consultation on the EU’s review of competences in the environmental and climate change area, also noted that pressure on resources would be one of three major challenges. The others were climate change and its mitigation, global competition impact and adaptation, as well as biodiversity.
One of the respondents, the Environmental Services Association is noted for its feedback that the EU would be better than Member States around eco-design and encouraging products to be more resource efficient.
CIWM also proposed that resource security should be assessed and planned for at an EU level.
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