EU: Balance of Competences Review

House of Lords written statement – made on 20th May 2013.

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Photo of Lord de Mauley Lord de Mauley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Owen Paterson) has today made the following Statement.

I wish to inform the House that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Ed Davey) and I have today published the call for evidence relating to the environment and climate change report as part of the balance of competences review.

This report, which will be completed by the end of 2013, will focus on the application and effect of the EU's competence in relation to the environment and climate change. Much of the UK's environment and climate change policy is now agreed at EU level, with comparatively few areas remaining exclusively within the competence of member states. One example of national competence is land use planning, although there are an increasing number of EU requirements affecting planning and development. All aspects of EU environment policy are potentially covered by this report including, but not limited to, air quality, water quality, nature protection, chemicals and waste.

The climate change aspects of the report will include international climate change negotiations, the reduction of collective EU member state greenhouse gas emissions via burden-sharing arrangements and the EU Emissions Trading System. It will not include renewable energy or energy efficiency, both of which will be discussed in the energy report, to be launched in the autumn.

The call for evidence period will be open for 12 weeks. My department and the Department for Energy and Climate Change will draw together the evidence and policy analysis into a first draft that will subsequently go through a process of scrutiny before publication towards the end of 2013.

We will take a rigorous approach to the collection and analysis of evidence. The call for evidence sets out the scope of the report and includes a series of questions on which contributors are invited to focus. The evidence received (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the final report and will be available on: www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences.

Our departments will pursue an active engagement process, consulting with departmental select committees, the devolved Administrations, businesses and civil society in order to obtain evidence to contribute to our analysis of the issues. Our EU partners and the EU institutions will also be invited to contribute evidence to the review.

The resulting report is intended to be a comprehensive, thorough and detailed analysis of EU competence for environment and climate change and what this means for the UK. It will aid our understanding of the nature of our EU membership and will provide a constructive and serious contribution to the wider European debate about modernising, reforming and improving the EU. The report will not produce specific policy recommendations.

I am placing this document and the call for evidence in the Libraries of both Houses. They will also be published on www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences.