A decision looms for Britain as the country must decide on its European future. Though topics including immigration and business economics dominate the headlines, it’s only right to examine the effects of the EU on our local environment and wildlife.
The Institute of European Environmental Policy have released a report that amounts a conclusion on the consequences of a Brexit.
This conclusion was simple, British nature is aided hugely by European law.
The main positive:
EU legislation, the Habitats Directive, protects 220 habitats and 1,000 species of wildlife. This legislation works alongside the Birds Directive of 2009, which guards both habitats and the species of wild bird within them.
The report states these directives aim to encourage international cooperation by implementing coherent, multinational approaches to conservation, species identification and protection, and the conversation of habitat.
“This enables progress to be objectively assessed and Member States held to account, if necessary. The important biogeographical regions approach to conservation has meant that habitats and species relatively common in one country, but of wider EU conservation concern, are now subject to protection measures which were rarely in place previously.”
If we leave?
The UK would need to look to other international agreements because the aforementioned directives will no longer be binding.
“The risks of withdrawing from the EU are significant for nature. Although, in theory, a highly committed future UK government could adopt effective national measures if it chose, it would be much harder to coordinate action to address the cross-border threats faced by many UK species and there is very little to indicate to that this is likely to happen.”
“The results of EU policy and its uneven and often incomplete implementation by governments are disappointing in the sense that the decline of habitats and species in Europe continues, as it does in many other parts of the world. However, there is good evidence that what has been achieved in the EU in terms of nature conservation policy is increasingly effective where it is being properly implemented and it provides the conditions for extending the conservation effect into the marine environment where it has lagged behind.”
If you fancy studying the report yourself, click here.
Featured Image: EU Flag. By Yanni Koutsomitis, Flickr.