Businesses and organisations are being asked for their views on European Union policies to find out whether being a part of the EU helps or hinders their work on the environment and climate change.
In the first review of its kind, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have launched a consultation into EU action on the environment and climate change to ask how businesses, experts and individuals feel they impact on the UK. Charities, think tanks and businesses will have an opportunity to put forward their views.
The 12 week consultation is part of a wider review known as the Balance of Competences which was launched by the Foreign Secretary William Hague last July. Its aim is to take forward the Coalition commitment to examine the balance of power between the EU and the UK.
Groups will be asked about issues such as how far they think the UK might benefit from the EU taking more or less action on the environment and climate change and whether EU legislation provides the right balance between protecting the environment and the wider UK economic interest.
The consultation is open until 12 August 2013. The findings will be published next winter and will contribute to a national debate on the environment, climate change and the EU, but will not make specific policy recommendations.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:
This is the first time that people are being asked directly how individual EU policies affect them and their businesses.
It’s important that we understand how policies on the environment and climate change affect people living and working with them in everyday life.
I look forward to hearing the views of businesses and others as they will help inform future discussions and debates on Europe.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said:
The Balance of Competences Review is an opportunity for people and interest groups from across the spectrum to have their say on how the action we take to tackle climate change in the EU and beyond impacts on the UK.
I would strongly urge people to take advantage of this opportunity, make their views known, and help inform this important national debate. I look forward to hearing the views of interested parties during the course of the Call for Evidence.
In total, the Government is expected to produce 32 reports by autumn 2014 on how we work with the EU. Defra has been asked to produce four reports on environment and climate change, agriculture, fisheries, and animal health an d welfare and food safety.