ABSTRACT

It is axiomatic that without adequate enforcement even the best-intentioned law will remain a dead letter. While the scope of substantive EU environmental law continues to expand, we are not witnessing the parallel improvement in the state of the European environment that one might expect. An authoritative recent confirmation of this is the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) report of November 2010, The European Environment – State and Outlook.1 The report makes uncomfortable reading. Of the sixteen discrete environmental ‘issues’ identified by the EEA, the EU was, as at 2010 and viewed as a whole, meeting its targets in respect of only three (namely, the climate change target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020,2 the waste management targets set for recycling,3 and the water pollution targets for pollution from point sources and bathing water quality).4 Within all other areas – including in relation to the EU’s energy efficiency and renewables goals, all of its other waste policy goals, its water and air quality and air pollution goals, and all of its biodiversity goals5 – the EU is not meeting its environmental targets.6