The Conservatives in Brighton: EC plans 'green shame' reports

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The Independent Online
THE European Community has agreed to produce a regular report on member states who fail to implement environment directives, to shame them into complying, Michael Howard, Secretary of State for the Environment, told conference yesterday.

Speaking in a debate on the environment, he said that Karel Van Miert, the EC Environment Commissioner, had agreed to make his first report in December.

Mr Howard said: 'We want an end to the system where we take our commitments seriously while other countries ignore them; an end to the competitive disadvantage we suffer because we observe Community laws . . .; an end to the cynical charade of countries signing up to new laws to catch headlines at home when they have no intention of putting them into effect.' He added that Britain would host a conference of EC environmental inspectors to establish a common approach to enforcement.

During the speech Mr Howard announced a series of initiatives - at no cost to the Exchequer - putting the onus on individuals and businesses to make changes. He would be considering an 'adopt-a-road' scheme, widely used in the United States, where short stretches of highway are sponsored and kept tidy by local firms. Next week he would be launching a 'Helping the Earth begins at home' programme, which 'focuses on what each of us can do to save energy and tackle global warming'.

Mr Howard also wants to encourage a network of volunteer 'community environment wardens' to tackle local environmental problems.