Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Son Boris Is Wrong on Brexit; the EU Is Good for the Environment

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Son Boris Is Wrong on Brexit; the EU Is Good for the Environment

Article excerpt

Byline: Stanley Johnson

A FEW weeks ago Baroness Young and I launched Environmentalists for Europe, under the aegis of the European Movement. Our patron is the wonderful Bill Oddie; our steering committee includes such luminaries as Lord Deben (aka John Gummer) and Caroline Spelman, both former Conservative Environment Secretaries, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Labour MPs Barry Gardiner, Mary Creagh and Kerry McArthur, the Lib-Dems' Baroness Parminter and the CEO of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett.

On Thursday Friends of the Earth and Environmentalists for Europe are sponsoring a meeting aimed at setting out the environmental case for voting Remain on June 23. This country has contributed hugely to the development of a strong EU environmental policy. In 1973, when Britain joined the EEC, I was appointed the first head of the European Commission's Prevention of Pollution Division. Later, as an MEP, I was vicechairman of the European Parliament's environmental committee. British experts were critical as we worked out key European measures. The anti-pollution directives, for example, owed much to the UK's Prevention of Pollution Acts.

We also believe EU environmental legislation is vital in setting standards at the heart of the single market. They make it possible to trade between countries without encountering what we used to call "technical barriers". For example, Britain is now one of the major exporters of cars to Europe. Without common standards on exhaust emissions your car might have to be road-tested at Calais or Dieppe next time you take the Channel Tunnel or car ferry to France.

There are also EU standards on industrial emissions. Don't tell me that after a Brexit our continental rivals will let British industry grab an advantage by lowering or ceasing to enforce the EU's anti-pollution legislation to which British industry is currently subject. …

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