Conservative stand on air quality wins assurances

14-Jan-2015 @ 16:0

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Conservative MEP Julie Girling has received assurances from key members of the EU Commission that the planned Air Quality Package will not be scrapped as part of a thinning out process of the legislative programme.

Mrs Girling, Conservative environment spokesman in the European Parliament, is lead MEP for a pivotal report in the package. She was concerned last month by reports that the whole series of planned air-quality initiatives would be dropped as part of a new Commission Work Programme to be announced by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans,  intended to reflect the principle of better regulation.

However, in private meetings with Mr Timmermans and Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, it has been confirmed to Mrs Girling that the Commission is not withdrawing the air-quality package. The Commission has instead emphasised the need for synergy with the climate and energy package,  but this does not undermine the Parliament's ongoing work on air quality.

Mrs Girling said: "I have been assured by the Commissioner that the legislative process will  continue as planned and I will be sticking to my timetable as rapporteur.

"Air quality is such as important issue and we will need robust rules in place that allow us to tackle this.  After all the recent rumours around the new work programme, I was pleased to hear from both Commissioners that this is indeed the case.

"I am confident that we can come  up with a solution that delivers real value here without imposing unnecessary burdens on industry or members states.

"Of course we fully support the principle of better regulation and we are right behind Mr Timmerman's in his quest to weed out legislation that is ineffectual, intractable or just plain bad. However, the air quality package is none of those things. It would have been wrong to scrap it wholesale.

"We are therefore happy that our constructive arguments in meetings with key commissioners have been heard and apparently accepted."

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