Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

EU membership … bringing grief, hassle and costing you money since 1973

'EU membership … bringing grief, hassle and costing you money since 1973'
'EU membership … bringing grief, hassle and costing you money since 1973'

The debate surrounding our membership of the EU is framed in abstract terms. Phrases such as comitology, modality, subsidiarity, externalisation, planification and modality bamboozle and confuse.

They mean little to anyone who lives in the real world. But, as a series of revelations during the past week have proven… there’s a reason for that.

Firstly we had the EU’s Habitat Directive rear its head. A railway line in England collapsed into the sea as a result of poor weather. However, it couldn't be repaired, until an ‘environmental impact assessment’ upon the local bird population was first completed.

Next, it was the turn of the EU’s new E10 superfuel to take centre stage, after What Car? examined the impact of the new fuel upon petrol consumption on family hatchbacks. WhatCar?’s boffins discovered the EU’s new superfuel increases fuel consumption and costs by over 8%. And ironically for a fuel, which claims to reduce emissions, it will actually increase them by 4%.

If you think that is ridiculous , then are you should be aware of the EU’s looming ban on vacuum cleaners? From September, sales of new cleaners with a power output greater than 1600w will be outlawed. From 2017, sales of vacuum cleaners with an output greater than 900w will be outlawed. A quick look at the website of a popular online retailer shows what in a little over four years, 80% of their best-selling vacuum cleaners will be illegal.

Then late last week, I was advised of EU plans to force over a million homeowners and householders across the UK to abandon existing oil fired heating systems. Instead, they will be instructed to embrace EU ‘Blue Flame’ technology… at a cost of over £1bn. Great news is you’re a French, Dutch or German boiler manufacturer; not such good news if you’re one of the 1.5m British households dependent upon oil for their heating.

One of the most worrying recent developments for me locally is the recent designation of the river Whitewater in Mourne as an area of special scientific interest or ASSI. the criteria is so strict that local fisheries conservationists cannot even cut back overhanging branches from trees that are rooted in the river bank.

The river cannot now be dredged as was the case in years gone by and it is inevitable that the Cranfield and Greencastle  and Millbay areas will suffer significant flooding in the future in a similar fashion to what's happening in England at present but that does not matter so long as our civil servants can show that they are adhering  to dangerous EU environmental obligations and directives.

So the next time you hear an EU announcement clothed in 'Eurospeak' and don’t understand it, you don’t need to; you can be certain it’s going to bring grief, hassle and cost you money… just as it has done since 1973.  

 

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