A year for integration

Another hectic year on the environmental front has drawn to a close. But anyone taking the Government's new deregulation drive as a signal that there will be a let-up in 1993 will almost certainly be disappointed.

True, the Government has quietly leaned on the National Rivers Authority to proceed more slowly than it had intended in introducing statutory water quality objectives (see pp 26-27 ). And it has also persuaded it not to ask for the designation of statutory zones within which extra controls would be used to protect groundwater (see 27-29 ).

But elsewhere the portents are different. The implementation of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 still has some way to run, and looks like having particularly interesting consequences for the landfill industry (see pp 29-30 ). A Bill to establish the Environment Agency will be in preparation for entry into Parliament in November. And with it may come powers to introduce economic instruments seriously into the UK's environmental policy for the first time.

An important concept developed by environmentalists many years ago is also becoming common currency. Environment Ministers have now begun to talk about the need to manage demand for transport not by the traditional means of building new roads, but by using the land use planning system to ease public access to jobs, facilities and services by methods other than the motor car. The same theme of demand management is also evident in different degrees in the Government's proposals for controlling carbon dioxide emissions (see pp 15-17 ) and ensuring the sustainable development of water resources.

The dinosaurs are not yet in their death throes. The Government's discussion document on carbon dioxide, for example, says that future emission control measures will have to be consistent with energy policy, when what it should have said was that the two will have to be fully integrated. Nevertheless, 1993 looks like being a year in which both transport and energy policy will have to give ground in the battle to push them onto the path of sustainable development.

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