Brussels, 9 March The European Commission has claimed that €50bn per year could be saved through stronger implementation of environmental legislation. This would be saved in health costs, as well as direct costs to the environment.
In a press release, Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik said, “Our environment is protected by some 200 pieces of well established law, but all too often they are not properly applied. This doesn’t just harm the environment, it also damages human health, leads to uncertainty for industry and undermines the Single Market. In a time of crisis, these are costs we cannot afford.”
These comments have been timed to kick start debate on the EU’s 7th Environmental Action Plan (7EAP), proposals for which are due in the autumn.
Whilst not pursuing the creation of an EU environmental inspectorate (as requested by some stakeholders), the communication supports improved surveillance and inspection, greater chances for environmental groups to pursue litigation (a move blocked by Member States a few years ago), and the creation of an information sharing system (SEIS) to address uneven enforcement levels between Member States.
Click to read the Commission’s press release.