Greenest Government ever' claims are seriously undermined as Chancellor calls for EU rules on Habitats to be bent

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 29 November 2011

“Greenest Government ever” claims are seriously undermined as Chancellor calls for EU rules on Habitats to be bent Just a week after moving the goal posts surrounding the designation of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK, the Government has once again called into question its commitment to green issues and conservation by indicating it will water down its implementation of the Habitats Regulations.

“Greenest Government ever” claims are seriously undermined as Chancellor calls for EU rules on Habitats to be bent Just a week after moving the goal posts surrounding the designation of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK, the Government has once again called into question its commitment to green issues and conservation by indicating it will water down its implementation of the Habitats Regulations. In the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement (29/11/11) , George Osborne announced the Government wanted to ensure that compliance with the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives does not lead to unnecessary costs and delays to development. Mr Osborne said that the Government is committed to tackling blockages for developments where compliance is particularly complex or has large impacts. He said the Government has announced progress on specific projects where compliance has already proved problematic including Falmouth Harbour, where MCS has been lobbying for maerl bed protection for some time. “The Habitats Directive is fairly written to enable major infrastructure projects that are needed, and for which there are no alternatives. But it’snot there to enable Government to concrete over important habitats, such as fish nursery grounds. Riding rough shod over conservation legislation like this will cost the UK more in fines from Europe than it will generate for business, ” said Melissa Moore, Senior Policy Officer. “Our seas as well as our economy need recovery. Putting money into port development, when world container shipping is in decline, is a nonsense. Investment would be better spent helping small businesses, not environmental destruction”.

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