This week, the European Parliament adopted its position on the ‘Mid-term review of the EU’s biodiversity Strategy’, with a number of positive outcomes.
In response to the European Commission’s proposed ‘fitness check’ of the Nature Directives (the Birds and Habitats Directives), the Parliament made it clear that they should not be opened for review ‘because this would jeopardise the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy, would bring about a protracted period of legal uncertainty, with the risk that it would result in weakened legislative protection and financing, and would be bad for nature, for people and for business’. The emphasis should instead focus on improving implementation of the two laws.
Keith has made a short video to welcome this outcome.
In another positive step, the Parliament adopted a paragraph in the report which urges EU countries not to authorise any new fracking operations, due to related risks and the negative climate, environmental and biodiversity impacts involved, as well as gaps identified in the EU regulatory regime for shale gas activities.
The wording was based on a text which Keith and a fellow Green MEP put forward to the draft report when it was being considered in the Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee before Christmas.
Commenting on the result, Keith said:
‘After several attempts to get the Parliament to take on board the serious risks relating to fracking, a majority of MEPs have finally seen sense (although I’m surprised and disappointed that none of my South East colleagues saw good reason to support this text). Of course, there is a long way to go in terms of getting a more legally binding framework in place at EU level, but this is a good sign.’
‘Fracking is a distraction from investing in clean energy sources – studies show that we must leave the majority of fossil fuels in the ground to have a good chance of avoiding the impact of extremely dangerous climate change.’