Environmental Appraisal and Environmental Policy in the European Union

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Revisions to the European Treaty of Union require some form of environmental appraisal – primarily risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis – of regulatory initiatives by the European Commission. A retrospective look at the emergence of environmental appraisal also shows that, while the Commission has made great advances in introducing cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness appraisals in recent years, past environmental decisions and overall environmental policy have not been informed by systematic appraisal techniques. Nor is it clear what role is now being played by risk assessments. While it is impossible to gauge the extent to which systematic appraisal procedures will save on regulatory and compliance expenditures, some indications are provided of the costs of past neglect of these procedures.

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