Environmental policy legal definition of environmental policy
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environmental policy in the law of the EUROPEAN UNION, a policy of the Union added by the SINGLE EUROPEAN ACT (SEA). The Member States have since been legally enjoined to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment, to contribute towards health and prudently and rationally utilize natural resources. Detailed provisions exist for preventive action. A rule that environmental damage should be dealt with at source exists - a useful rule when the consequences of one member state's pollution may run down a river and harm the environment of another. The person polluting should pay in principle, not the Community taxpayers. The Community itself is empowered to act where it can do so more effectively than the member states. It is important to appreciate that even before the inclusion of the policy in the Treaties, the Community had done much in the field under other powers. See HABITAT.