When Britain joined the European Union in 1973, virtually all aspects of its environmental policy were determined at the national level within Britain. Thirty years on, the policy and political landscape of environmental politics has changed beyond all recognition. Over recent years, EU environmental policy has emerged as one of the best known and most rapidly developing areas of EU activity. The purpose of this paper is to inform a much wider public debate about Britain's future role in the EU by examining what the EU has done for Britain in the environmental sphere, and in turn what Britain has done (and can do) for the EU. In so doing it presents an environmental case for Britain involving itself more fully and more proactively in the development of the EU. Drawing on the history of British-EU environmental affairs since 1973, it demonstrates that if Britain wants to maximise its control over international environmental affairs and master its own, domestic environmental destiny, it needs to operate within the central framework of the EU. Part Two explains the advantages of dealing with environmental problems at a European, as opposed to a national level. Part Three briefly explains the historical development of EU environmental policy and explains why the EU has developed an environmental policy when its original mission was to create a single market. Part Four explains the origins and continuing development of EU environmental policy, and Part Five briefly describes how EU environmental policies have affected Britain since 1973. Part Six assesses how successful EU environmental policy has been, and Part Seven discusses a number of new challenges that now need to be tackled if the EU is to build upon its pre-eminent position in domestic and international environmental affairs.
Britain enlargement environmental policy European Union Europeanization governance Sustainable Development