EC gives in to Britain

IN A CASE of weak-kneed capitulation, the European Community has dropped five of the seven environmental cases against Britain. The cases dropped include enquiry into the environmental impact of a highway cutting through two protected ancient sites and monuments at Twyford Down; a motorway link in east London; the construction of a channel tunnel rail link between London and Kent; the installation of a hospital incinerator; and a proposed Coca-Cola Schweppes plant at Northampton. The EC commission, under former environment commissioner Carlos Ripa de Meana, instituted the cases on the grounds that impact studies were inadequate. One of the first statements of UK environment secretary Michael Howard after the UK took over EC presidency in July, was to argue for greater "subsidiarity" or devolution of jurisdiction on environment issues to EC member-countries. Ripa di Meana resigned from office about the same time.

The two cases the EC commission will continue to conduct against Britain are a road project which cuts through the ancient Oxleas Woods and the extension of a British Petroleum oil plant.

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