The Queen's Speech: Environment - Green pledges bear no fruit
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Wednesday 25 November 1998
Environmentalists were left dispirited by the absence of action on a whole range of green issues - better protection for the countryside and wildlife, more measures to reduce road traffic, a food standards agency and a crackdown on water companies taking too much water from rivers and streams.
The forthcoming Water Industry Bill, for example, will do nothing to limit the over-extraction of water, which the Environment minister, Michael Meacher, promised to halt in June. It will end water disconnections for non-payment of bills, and make a water meter available free to anyone who wants one, both of which the Government promised last week.
The other "green" measure proposed in the Queen's Speech, the Pollution Prevention and Control Bill, is even more technical. It merely transposes into British law the Brussels directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, replacing the UK's own, and similar, Integrated Pollution Control and Local Air Pollution Control regimes.
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