Michael Heseltine – 1991 Comments on the Environment and European Political Union

The comments made by Michael Heseltine, the then Secretary of State for the Environment, in the House of Commons on 7 March 1991.

The United Kingdom has made two proposals designed to strengthen the link between the Community’s environmental policy and its other policies. First, we have proposed an amendment to article 2 of the treaty of Rome which sets out the Community’s fundamental objectives. Those objectives derive from an era when environmental considerations were not seen as a constraint on economic activity, and currently take no account of the subsequent development of EC environmental policy. We have therefore proposed adding a new objective of promoting throughout the Community sustainable growth which respects the environment.

Secondly, we have called for an agreement that in future new proposals for Community legislation or action, in whatever field, should include a statement on the environmental effects of the proposed measures. This is intended to ensure that environmental requirements and implications are taken properly into account in the formulation of all areas of Community policy.

In our White Paper “This Common Inheritance” we stressed the need to improve Community environment policies. We believe these ideas would be of important practical value in ensuring that different areas of Community policy do not act in conflict, and that environmental considerations are given the priority they require.