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EU attacked over lack of environmental incentives

WorldWatch

LACK OF political courage will undermine the EU's action plan to promote environmental technologies, a UK environmental industry lobbying body has claimed.

The Environmental Industries Commission said the plan would sideline environmental regulation and enforcement in creating demand for environmental technology.

The action plan aims to promote European environmental technologies - to match the regulatory and financial framework that has enabled the US and Japan to become the world leaders in the e400bn global market for the environmental sector. The Japanese government has recently set itself the target of winning 50% of this huge market.

There are 28 actions to support technologies including:

Testing and verification schemes to smooth the path to market for new environmental technologies.

Reforming public procurement practices to promote the purchase of environmentally sound products and technologies.

A review of EU state aid guidelines.

Increased focus on environmental technology in the EUfunded research programmes, including three new 'Technology Platforms' for fuel cells, water and photovoltaics.

Market based instruments to internalise environmental costs.

Formation of an EU-wide advisory panel on environmental technologies.

The plan will also develop environmental 'performance targets' for key products, processes and services.

But EIC chairman Adrian Wilkes said the plan had no concrete measures to improve enforcement of EU legislation.

'A lack of political courage within the Commission means the plan lacks any bold policy measures. The EU must recognise the key driver for environmental technologies is high environmental standards - created by regulation and green taxes.

'In particular the impact assessments carried out by the EU of new environmental protection legislation must look at the full economic benefits of high environmental standards - not just the costs to polluting industries.'

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