What has the EU ever done the environment? I have been asking myself this over the last agonising few days. Will we miss the EU in environmental terms? The answer is yes but it has at least left a solid legacy that will be hard to undo. During this whole nasty campaign I have been wracking my brains to see how the EU affected me. There were three areas that came to mind, working rights, clean beaches and renewable energy.
The UK’s beaches used to be in a terrible state. When I lived in Edinburgh over 20 years ago the cities sewage was dumped in the Forth. I know this because the then wife of a friend of mine was a microbiologist. Her job was to sample the water after the dumping. This whole business was not only polluting but highly energy intensive. Now thanks to the EU that no longer happens and the sewage plant even covers of its energy use by means of an anaerobic digester. When I have been to the seaside the beeches I have visited have been all the top blue category. Again thanks to the EU. The UK had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do this, but having done life is much more pleasant.
The second area is renewable energy. The EU has set climate and renewable energy targets. These have not been high enough but have been better than nothing. The UK has to get 20% of all its energy from renewables by 2020. The government insisted we were on target to do this although many of us had our doubts. Nevertheless it was up to the UK how it met this target. One way was through the introduction of a feed in tariff which I have taken advantage of. Our renewable electricity production has soared to 25% last year.
With brexit environmentalists are concerned about the future, I think with good reason, but some of this legacy is secure. Bye bye EU, I like many of my compatriots think we will miss you more than we realised.
PS I voted and campaigned for remain.