7 things the EU has done for our environment

Phil Byrne

06 June 2016

The EU has been good for UK nature and our environment.

In the 1970s we used to pump our untreated sewage straight into the sea. Now, thanks to the EU, over 95% of our beaches are clean enough to swim in.

You won’t believe these pristine beaches are in the UK.


Bees pollinate many of our food crops and wild flowers. Countries in the EU are banned from using 3 bee-harming pesticides. If we weren’t in the EU, we’d probably still be using them. Find out why


We were losing 15% of our much-loved nature sites before EU protection. Exiting the EU would leave places like Flamborough Head, Dartmoor and Snowdonia vulnerable.

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EU action has totally changed how we handle our rubbish. The improvement in the UK has been dramatic. We’re not far off hitting an EU target of recycling half our household waste by 2020.


In 2009 the EU launched the Renewable Energy Directive. It’s led to a rapid growth in UK renewable electricity over the past 5 years.


The UK government isn’t taking air pollution seriously enough. Only the threat of fines – for breaking EU air quality limits – are forcing it into action. Read more about this toxic legacy...


The EU’s fishing policy has been rightly criticised in the past. But changes have led to an improvement in many fish stocks – like North Sea cod.


Actually, there's an 8th: 

The main EU chemicals law, REACH, is restricting the use of some of the worst chemicals. If we fully left the EU, the only restriction on the UK government’s regulation of fracking would be international conventions, which are very limited.

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In the interests of transparency, in the financial year 2014-2015, 90% of our income was from individual donations Less than 1% of our funding was from the EU.

Promoted by Anne Schiffer on behalf of Friends of the Earth Trust, registered charity no. 281681, company no. 1533942, of The Printworks, 1st Floor, 139 Clapham Road, SW9 0HP.

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