§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he intends to bring forward during the United Kingdom presidency of the Council of Ministers in respect of varying standards of implementation of EC environmental legislation by member states; what proposals he intends to bring forward on subsidiarity as it relates to environmental legislation; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Maclean
During the presidency we intend to bring the question of proper implementation and enforcement of EC environmental legislation to the attention of the Environment Council, with a view to initiating regular reviews of those issues by Environment Ministers.
We shall continue to press the European Commission to bring forward proposals to set up a Community inspectorate to audit the performance of enforcement agencies within the member states. We will be hosting the first meeting of a new "network" of member state enforcement agencies with a view to setting this up on a permanent basis.
The principle of subsidiarity is already written into the environment chapter of the EC treaty. The treaty on European union agreed at Maastricht will, when it comes into effect, extend the principle to other areas of Community policy.