Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations

Part of High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 3 March 2016.

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Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 2:30, 3 March 2016

There has been debate as to how far the Government have complied with the Aarhus convention with regard to some of our environmental considerations. The Aarhus convention is separate from the European Union, although I have to agree with the hon. Gentleman —as someone who believes Britain is better in the European Union than out of it—that much of the EU’s environmental legislation is protecting people’s health here.

When representatives from the Commission came to the UK and saw the extent of our environmental work and consultation, they were very happy indeed that we were fulfilling all our obligations. A number of people have said that it is difficult to build anything in this country because of all the environmental legislation, but I think it is important that we protect our environment. Some of the areas through which we are building the line have particularly sensitive ecosystems. I am therefore proud that we have managed to do this with no net environmental loss, which is fantastic, and that 2 million trees will be planted, which will further enhance the environment.