What has the EU ever done for our environment in the East Midlands?
The EU is responsible for about 80% of our environmental laws in the UK.
Climate Change is our greatest threat today. It increases the frequency of extreme weather conditions like flooding; it will threaten our food security and sea levels will rise, reducing land mass and causing mass migration.
Flooding has been an increasing problem in the East Midlands (for example in Lincolnshire). This is not only tragic for the individuals concerned, but also costly.
Increasingly unpredictable weather in East Midlands puts agriculture and food production at risk leading to higher food prices and putting farming livelihoods at risk.
Climate has no borders, and we must work together with other countries to address this. The EU has been a significant part of the international efforts to tackle climate change; and the UK must work with the EU to get effective international action to limit climate change.
Prior to EU legislation, protected wildlife sites were being diminished by 15% a year. After the passing of the EU’s Natura 2000 and the birds and habitat directive, this has been reduced to 1%.
EU legislation was instrumental in protecting many types of marine wildlife and fish; without these, many species would now face extinction.
Protecting birds and fish must be done together with our neighbours, as these species travel across borders. If the UK, for example, reduces fishing of an endangered species, it becomes pointless if our neighbours continue to fish it indiscriminately.
There are internationally valuable habitats in the East Midlands, including the Peak District Moorlands and parts of the Lincolnshire coast that are protected by EU directives and will be at risk from a Brexit.
Our seas as well as our air have been heavily polluted, and consequently our wildlife and our own health have suffered.
EU legislation has ensured that our beaches in Lincolnshire have become much cleaner. The EU landfill site directive has been driving local authorities’ recycling efforts, and overall this important legislation will ensure that we will have to reduce our landfill waste and will further drive up recycling.
Particularly in urban areas like Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, our air has been shown to be heavily polluted. Nationally, 29,000 people die prematurely every year, directly linked to air pollution. Our three major cities in the East Midlands are affected by this and the EU legislation is ensuring that we must address this.
So please consider voting to stay in, so we can continue to protect our environment with our European colleagues.