European Referendum

Countries in the EU are banned from using 3 bee-harming pesticides. If we weren't in the EU, they would still be in use here.

Bees are great. They pollinate many of our food crops and wild flowers.

But since 1900, the UK has lost 20 species of bee. A further 35 bee species are considered to be under threat of extinction.

Across Europe nearly 1 in 10 wild bee species are under threat. It’s a shared problem.

There are several causes of bee decline: loss of habitat, use of pesticides, spread of pests and diseases, and climate change.

© Amelia Collins

What is the EU doing to help protect bees from harmful pesticides?

In 2013 a majority of EU member states voted to restrict the use of 3 pesticides - known as neonicotinoids. The vote followed a report by EU scientists which revealed a high risk of harm to honey bees when neonicotinoids are used on crops attractive to them.

© Alan Palmer

What more needs to be done?

A lot. As well as phasing out damaging pesticides, the EU needs to reverse habitat loss and combat climate change. All require united action by governments across Europe.

The EU-wide ban on these 3 neonicotinoids is under review. It’s essential that countries in the EU keep the ban in place.

Would leaving the EU hinder or help?

If we weren't in the EU, these dangerous pesticides would never have been restricted in the UK. The UK vigorously opposed the introduction of the restrictions despite the scientific evidence.

Opponents of the ban were quick to predict widespread crop losses. However, the first harvest grown without neonicotinoids in autumn 2015 proved otherwise. Average UK crop yields of oilseed rape actually increased on the previous year.

© Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Theoretically, the UK government could maintain the ban on these bee-harming pesticides outside of the EU.

And theoretically European members states could collectively vote to repeal the restrictions.

We're campaigning to ensure that, in or out, they don’t come back. But without the EU, the restrictions wouldn’t have been introduced in the first place.

So far our membership of the EU has protected bees from harmful pesticides. Those in favour of Brexit are yet to show that bees would be safer.

From Friends of the Earth  see more here

What has the EU done for UK bees?

Countries in the EU are banned from using 3 bee-harming pesticides. If we weren't in the EU, they would still be in use here. Bees are great. They pollinate many...

New figures show that nearly 1,000 projects at 78 UK universities and research centres receive funds from the European Research Council (ERC) and would be put at risk if the UK were to leave the European Union.

The figures, compiled by the House of Commons Library, also show that the UK has more ERC funded projects than any other country, accounting for 22 per cent of all ERC funded projects – more than 25 recipient countries put together.

The €1.7 billion of ERC funds are part of much wider EU support for research, development and innovation projects. In total, between 2007 and 2013 UK universities received €4.9 billion from EU funds and analysis by the Royal Society has shown that the UK benefits from a net gain of EU research funds of €3.4 billion.

Commenting, Angela Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

“These figures highlight the risk to our universities of the UK leaving the European Union.

“EU funded research at the UK’s leading universities has led to vital scientific discoveries, including potential treatments for cancer and heart disease.

“Leaving the EU would put at risk this funding stream and undermine the UK’s world-leading university sector, putting our competitive advantage and highly-skilled jobs at risk.” 


Details of case studies of projects that have received ERC funding:

Brain research
A crucial discovery of how the brain functions was made by EU funded researchers at King’s College London. The findings could help develop new therapies for neurological disorders such as epilepsy, which affects around 50 million people globally. (ERC, November 2015,

Heart research 
Important research funded by EU grants, at Imperial College London, identified a stem cell injection that could repair heart muscle damaged during a heart attack. Heart-related diseases are the leading global cause of death. The discovery is an early but important step towards heart regeneration science. (ERC, May 2015,

Cancer research
EU funded researchers at Imperial College London have developed a ‘smart’ surgical knife that can ‘smell’ the tissues it is cutting through- with the potential to revolutionise cancer treatments. In the United Kingdom alone, there are 300,000 new cases every year – leading to almost two million surgical operations annually. (ERC, November 2013,


1. Details of European Research Council funded projects under the 2007-2013 Framework Programme can be found in the attached spreadsheet (‘House of Commons library ERC figures’), provided by the House of Commons Library.

2. The €1.7 billion ERC funding for this period has gone to 78 UK universities and research centres and funded 975 projects. The second spreadsheet (‘ERC grants country by country figures’) shows that 21.7 per cent of all ERC funded projects are in the UK.

3. However universities and research centres also receive EU funding from other sourced than the ERC. According to the Royal Society, over the period 2007-2013, UK universities received €4.9 billion through FP7 Framework Programme. (Royal Society, ‘UK research and the European Union: The role of the EU in funding UK research’, December 2015, p.18,

4. Across other sectors, including direct support to businesses, the UK received €8.8 billion in EU funding for research, development and innovation projects. Analysis by the Royal Society shows that the UK benefits from a net gain of EU research funds of €3.4 billion. (Royal Society, December 2015, p.12,

5. 13 UK universities are ranked in the top 25 European universities in terms of the top recipients of funds from the EU. Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and University College London, alone occupy the top four spots. (Royal Society, December 2015’, p.17,

6. EU funding is available to non-EU members or so-called ‘associated countries’. ‘Associated countries’ are not Member States, but are party to an international agreement with the EU, under the terms or on the basis of which the country makes a financial contribution to EU funds. (European Research Council, ) The terms of their association differ from country to country- however, none of them have a role in the negotiations that shape EU research funding. . (Royal Society, December 2015’, p.10,

7. Iceland, Serbia, Turkey, Norway, Switzerland and Israel have received ERC funding.  However, combined they account for only 14 per cent of projects.

8. If the UK left the EU, we would still need to contribute funding as a member of an ‘associated country’ if we wanted to bid for grants- with no guarantee that the terms would be in anyway as favourable as they currently are. This would put vital research in jeopardy

Risk to vital research funding if the UK leaves the EU

New figures show that nearly 1,000 projects at 78 UK universities and research centres receive funds from the European Research Council (ERC) and would be put at risk if the...

Boris is playing fast and loose with people’s jobs with no clue of what he wants for Britain

Alan Johnson MP, Chair of Labour In for Britain, responding to comments from Boris Johnson, said:

“This is a major admission from Boris Johnson that there would be a downturn following Britain pulling out of Europe. He is  playing fast and loose with people’s jobs, with no clue over what he actually wants for Britain.

“Last week he was Out to stay In, now he’s Out to be Out, admitting this would be a major blow to our economy. When he’s finished doing the Hokey Cokey, perhaps he’d come clean with people about how bad it would be."

Boris is playing fast and loose with people’s jobs

Boris is playing fast and loose with people’s jobs with no clue of what he wants for Britain Alan Johnson MP, Chair of Labour In for Britain, responding to comments...


General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady

Workers’ rights would by threatened if Britain voted to leave the EU, the TUC has warned.

The umbrella group for UK trade unions has outlined how the EU “improved and extended rights and now underpins them” in a report published today. It also says the EU is an important safeguard against potential “unilateral” Government action that could change undermine workers’ rights.

The EU provides an alternative to an increasing attacks on workers’ right, the TUC said.

“The European Union has played an important role in protecting working people from exploitation and combating discrimination.

“These EU rights have provided an important counter-balance against pressure for the UK to adopt a US-style hire-and-fire culture where there is an absence of statutory employment rights.”

The TUC has also suggested workers’ could expect their employment rights to be bolstered if Britain voted to stay in the EU.

“There are also areas where European policy makers are currently considering future positive developments which could bring employment protection gains for UK workers.

“Measures could include extending the right to a written statement of terms and conditions to all workers (including those on zero-hours contracts), improved work-life balance rights and improved rights for posted workers. UK unions continue to work through European structures with European partners to advance and extend this agenda.”

The report comes just a day after Alan Johnson, leader of Labour In for Britain, highlighted the benefits of EU membership.

“Two thirds of British jobs in manufacturing are dependent on demand from Europe.

“Around 50,000 apprentices depend on trade linked to our EU membership.

“We can’t let them down by turning our back on the world and cutting British manufacturing and industry off from their largest export market.

Brexit would put workers’ rights at risk, TUC warns

General Secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady Workers’ rights would by threatened if Britain voted to leave the EU, the TUC has warned. The umbrella group for UK trade unions has...

  • Although the EU is not perfect, it has led to an unprecedented era of peace and security, and it is inconceivable that our neighbours could now engage in military action against us.
  • During the second world war the North West was home to many important military bases and air fields such as RAF Barton Hall near Preston, RAF Calveley near Nantwich, and RAF Crosby-on-Eden which today is known as Carlisle Lake District Airport
  • The Lakeland fells in Cumbria were often used for troop training exercises. The fells around Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell were used as a training area for tank crews.
  • In 1941 Lowther Castle was requisitioned by the War Office to develop top secret anti-tank weapons. Military experts adapting the turrets of standard tanks to shine intense, flickering lights with the intention of blinding the enemy during night fighting.
  • The Combined Operations headquarters was situated in Derby House in Liverpool, wherein the Battle of the Atlantic was directed from.
  • Walney Island in Barrow was home to two of the country’s main artillery installations.
  • The European Arrest Warrant has been successfully used in cases like that involving a man from Greater Manchester who was arrested in Amsterdam, following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant as part of a drugs and money laundering investigation led by the North West regional organised crime unit, Titan. The EAW allows for criminals to be brought to justice, and prevent them from being able to hide across a border.


The creation of the EU has led to an unprecedented era of peace and security across Europe – it is now inconceivable that member states would go to war with each other. EU countries are integrated economically and socially, leading to greater security. European co-operation has also helped bring criminals to justice, with the European Arrest Warrant meaning that those who flee abroad after committing crimes can be apprehended and returned to the country where they committed the crime and face the consequences of their actions.


Preventing war in Europe

One of the founding concepts of the original European Coal and Steel Community - the forerunner to the EU- was that it should work to prevent war in Europe. In 2012, the EU was given the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of this work.


By integrating the economies of each of its member countries, the EU has made it nearly impossible for member nations to go to war with each other - and they haven't since the Second World War.


In addition to preventing war, the EU has also helped countries become modern democracies after years of dictatorship (in Greece, Spain and Portugal), and recover from decades of state socialism, both in East Germany and further east. By holding good governance, democracy and human rights as requirements for entry, the EU has managed to improve the standard of life across Europe.


Since the late 1990s the EU has expanded its conflict resolution operations beyond Europe and into countries such as Chad, Georgia and Afghanistan. These missions have included short-term operations aimed at military crisis management, conflict settlement and rehabilitation, democratisation and societal reconciliation.





Protecting you from crime at home and abroad

It is not just in foreign policy that the EU is working to protect your safety. British citizens are now better protected from crime as a result of the creation of things like the European Arrest Warrant in 2004. The warrant means that criminals can no longer escape to other European countries to avoid arrest, putting an end to the 'Costa del Crime' and other previously safe havens for those who had committed crime in Britain.


The European Arrest Warrant had one of its highest profile uses following the failed July 21st bombings in the UK. Osman Hussain was extradited to Britain after he fled to Rome in Italy. This meant he was brought back to the UK to face justice for his actions.


The EU has also worked to protect victims' rights, particularly victims of domestic violence and harassment. In October 2012 the EU issued a new directive to improve protection of victims across Europe, making sure they are treated properly by all governments across Europe. One key aspect of this is ensuring that victims are guaranteed the right to an interpreter if they are a victim of crime. This means that you should not have to worry about not speaking the language if you are a victim of crime while abroad.


What happens if we leave?

While leaving one of the largest blocs of countries is unlikely to lead directly to an erosion of European security, it takes away Britain's seat at one of the biggest contributors to conflict resolution and global peacekeeping. We would also find it harder to extradite wanted criminals to and from Europe after losing our European Arrest Warrant. It could take years to set up separate agreements with all the other European countries, and during that time criminals who had committed crimes in Britain would be able to escape justice.


The EU Provides Peace and Security

Although the EU is not perfect, it has led to an unprecedented era of peace and security, and it is inconceivable that our neighbours could now engage in military action...

  • The North West is home to an almost endless list of tourist attractions.
  • Windemere Lake Cruises near Bowness were the sixth most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2014.
  • Chester Zoo is the seventh most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2014.
  • Manchester and Liverpool were respectively the second and fourth most visited cities in the UK, with over 1.5 million visitors between them in 2013.
  • Tourists from outside the UK made 2.512 million visits to the North West in 2014, and made a spend of £1,115million in the North West.
  • Manchester is the largest airport outside London and bigger than many European capital city airports and has benefitted from a significant amount of EU investment.
  • The North West’s attractions are incredibly popular so we need to keep them open for business - and that means keeping them open to visitors from the EU.


Membership of the EU means that it is easier than ever to travel across Europe - all you need is your passport. In the North West of England alone, tourists from Europe brought over £1 billion to our local economy last year.


Travelling to Europe has never been easier

Since the establishment of the free movement of people between European states, travel from the UK to Europe has soared. Three out of every four flights that leave the UK today are bound for the EU.


Getting to Europe by plane or Eurostar is a lot easier than it used to be. All you need is your passport and you're good to go, with no more problems trying to obtain visas. Travel within the Schengen area is even easier, as you may not need your passport at all when crossing borders within it. That means you can drive from Portugal to Poland, or Holland to Hungary, without having to stop at a single border.


One of the best policies from the European Union is the free European Health Insurance Card. This card allows you access to free emergency cover anywhere in Europe, so you don't need to worry about high medical bills. No matter where you are in the EU, you can get access to the same care that you expect at home.


A recent law that Labour MEPs helped to introduce in the European Parliament has now made mobile data and calls cheaper for you when you go to Europe, so you no longer need to worry about getting a new SIM card or switching your phone off on holiday. Better still, prices are due to fall rapidly in April 2016 and extra charges will disappear completely by June 2017. That means that you will be able to make a call to the UK from Greece for the same price as you would if you were in your own home. The EU has already helped to drive down call costs - since 2000, the cost of a 10 minute call has fallen by an average of 74% in the EU.


Flights to Europe are also now cheaper than they were before, thanks to the EU breaking the monopoly of the national airlines. Any European airline can now fly between different countries so



long as they meet the EU's stringent safety standards. You also have greater consumer rights when flying so that if your plane is delayed or cancelled, your airline has to help you or pay compensation.


Supports our tourism industry

The benefits of EU travel are not limited to just Britons going abroad. In the North West of England alone, we receive a majority of our tourism related income from EU citizens.


If you've been to the beach in the UK over the last 20 years, you may have noticed a big improvement in the quality of both the water and the sand. Appallingly, raw sewage used to be dumped into the sea on Britain's coastline right up until the late 1990s, a practice which has now ended. Many of the improvements are down to 'Blue Flag' beaches, a special designation that proves they are as clean as possible. 99.5% of British beaches now meet European standards and you can be safe in the knowledge that many beaches in France, Italy, Portugal and Greece meet this standard too.


What happens if we leave?

The biggest impact that leaving the EU will have on your travel is by restricting entry into and out of mainland Europe. This will also have an impact on tourism in the UK, with people in other EU countries becoming more reluctant to travel through stringent UK border checks when they could easily move through other EU countries instead. It is likely that in addition to flight prices increasing due to re-introduced tariffs, you would no longer be entitled to compensation for delayed flights.


The future of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would also be uncertain if the UK left the EU. Whilst it’s true that the EHIC covers the European Economic Area (EEA) rather than just the EU, it’s not clear whether the UK would remain a member of the EEA if we left the EU. This might mean that we lose our ability to access healthcare across Europe, and would be forced to pay out instead for costly travel insurance to cover health emergencies whenever you went abroad.

The EU Makes Travel and Tourism Easier and Better Across the North West

The North West is home to an almost endless list of tourist attractions. Windemere Lake Cruises near Bowness were the sixth most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK, with...

  • Workers and consumers in the North West benefit from a range of different rights coming from the EU, whether they be around safety and commercial standards, health and safety, working hours or protections for disabled or LGBTI people.
  • 32% of people working in the North West work part-time. All these people have benefitted from EU rules ensuring that part-time workers cannot be discriminated against in relation to full-time workers.
  • There is no guarantee that these rights would be protected if the UK withdrew from the EU- indeed, they are one of the main reasons why many right-wing politicians want us to leave.


Our consumer and workers’ rights have been enhanced greatly by the EU. The products we buy must be properly labelled, fairly marketed and have a secure returns policy. The European Working Time Directive (WTD) protects four weeks of paid annual leave for every worker in Europe and many other pieces of EU law both stop British workers from being exploited at work and protect good employers.


Protecting us when we shop

The EU makes up nearly half of all trade that the UK has with the rest of the world. This means that thanks to the lower trade barriers introduced by the EU, British consumers have easier access to a more competitive market when they want to do their shopping. Europe has some of the highest safety and commercial standards in the entire world thanks to EU policy.


There is now increased transparency when you go shopping, with sellers required to prove full details of who they are, what they are selling and how much it costs (including taxes and delivery) so that there are no hidden costs. This is in addition to comprehensive laws about food labelling and unit price so that you know what is in your food and how much it costs compared to similar products.


EU law has also introduced standard rules for offering refunds across Europe. If you buy something that is broken, you can return it and have it repaired or replaced. If the repair or replacement isn't possible, you can get a part or complete refund of your money. Traders must also refund you within 14 days of unwanted goods being shipped.


Empowering us at work

The right to a holiday and proper leisure time is something that we all value. British workers now have the security of knowing that their rights are protected both in Britain and if they work abroad in Europe. For example, the adoption of the EU's Working Time Regulations in 1998 guaranteed workers paid holiday. The Directive guarantees four weeks of paid leave, which means that now everyone can feel able to take proper annual leave without fear of losing their job.


The Directive also helps you control how long you work for. Unless you choose to opt out, you cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours in a seven-day period, and you cannot be forced to work more than 13 consecutive hours in a day. If you are a night shift worker you are not allowed to work more than an average of eight hours in each 24-hour period. You are also guaranteed free



health assessments before assignments and at regular intervals to check that you are not damaging your health at work.


EU law also gives protection to temporary workers and agency workers, who are often in the most precarious jobs, stops part-time workers being treated less favourably than full-time workers, and stops pregnant women from being treated unfavourably by employers.


The EU has also introduced legislation to stop workers being exposed to dangerous chemicals and substances. These regulations set out standards that must be maintained to ensure the safety of workers. For example, the EU’s 2009 Directive on exposure to asbestos at work sets out the maximum permitted value for airborne concentration of asbestos, meaning that employees cannot be forced to work in situations where they could be seriously risking their long term health.


Promoting LGBTI equality

Under Provisions made in the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, it is now illegal for any country in the EU to allow discrimination at work based on sexual orientation. Under the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it became illegal for any discrimination to be made on the grounds of sexual orientation. This charter became legally binding in 2009 and also protects Transgender people from being discriminated against.


Accessibility and opportunity improved for disabled people

In addition to helping to protect the rights of LGBTI people, the Charter of Fundamental Rights also protects people with disabilities from discrimination. 11.6 million people in the UK have a disability and thanks to the work of the European Union, more is being done to break down barriers and end discrimination against disabled people – whether it’s in the workplace or on public transport.


What happens if we leave?

Initially David Cameron appeared to be targeting the Working Time Directive as part of his ‘renegotiation’ of the UK’s relationship with the EU. After pressure from the public and Trade Unions, he seems to have backed down on some of this agenda. Nevertheless, it is very likely that if the UK leaves the EU then these rights will be taken away completely. Recently European rules have provided one of the only guarantees of protection at work in the face of concerted attacks by the UK government on working peoples’ rights.

The EU Protecting Your Rights in the North West

Workers and consumers in the North West benefit from a range of different rights coming from the EU, whether they be around safety and commercial standards, health and safety, working...

  • Although all figures about the impact of the EU on jobs are contested, research suggests that at least 56,800 jobs have been created or safeguarded as a result of EU membership in the North West between 2007 and 2013.
  • In the same time frame, 8,340 businesses have been able to open their doors in the North West because of EU funding.
  • In the North West EU funding has helped over 15,000 start-up businesses, over 900 new social enterprises and more than 4,000 people with their skills development
  • The North West Business Leaders Team (NWBLT) has warned against the UK leaving the EU, stating that the arguments for staying in are even more powerful from the point of view of the region than the UK as a whole.
  • The NWBLT has committed its support for the UK remaining as a member of the EU, emphasising the large number of jobs which depend upon links with the EU.


It is hard to overstate how important our membership of the EU is for the British economy. Being a member of the EU means our businesses have access to the biggest single market in the world. That encourages more businesses to move to the UK, and for those here already encourages them to expand; that means more jobs. Experts estimate that one in every ten jobs in the UK depends on trade with EU countries - and many more will benefit indirectly.


The North West accounts for 8.9% of the UK’s manufactured exports – the third biggest contribution by any single region. The EU is the UK’s largest market for manufactured exports and this is no different in the North West. Over half (52%) of the region’s goods exports go to the EU, while 16% go to its second biggest market, Asia. It's little wonder that so many British businesses, large and small, say that they want us to stay - and warn that to leave would be a disaster.


The biggest single market in the world

Membership means businesses in the North West can sell their products to 500 million customers because the EU is the largest single market in the world. If you work for a business that sells products overseas, then chances are that you benefit from being part of the EU and selling to that enormous market.


Nearly half of all UK exports are sold into the EU - that's more than to anywhere else in the world. The figure is even higher for small and medium-sized businesses that sell overseas: for them, a massive 88% of their exports go to the EU. European Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from businesses into the UK is worth £543.7 billion. If we were to leave the EU it’s predicted the UK would eventually lose 2.25% of GDP, mainly because there would be less FDI flowing into the UK and the North West.


One in every ten UK jobs

Access to that single market isn't just an abstract idea, it's what persuades big international companies to decide they want to set up shop in the North West of England, and what allows small local businesses to get started in the first place and then keep growing. And more businesses in the North West means more jobs in the North West.



Across the UK as a whole, experts estimate that around more than three million jobs in the UK are linked to our trade with the EU - that's more than one job in every ten in the UK.


Businesses want us to stay

With all these advantages, it's little wonder the vast majority of British businesses want to stay in the EU. When the Confederation of British Industry, a group which brings together huge numbers of British businesses, asked its members what they thought, 71% said that being in the EU had an overall positive impact on their business - and 78% said they would vote to stay in. In manufacturing the figure is even higher - with 85% of EEF (the manufacturers’ organisation) members saying they would vote to stay.


This is not just the view of big, UK-wide businesses. Juergen Maier, North West Business Leader Team’s chair and the chief executive of Siemens UK, said: “The EU strengthens the position for us in the UK by reducing trade barriers and facilitating export growth and job creation. As the North of England looks forward to the prospect of a resurgence of national and international investment, it is vital to remain party to the trade agreements which EU membership gives us around the world.”


A spokesperson from Kelloggs’, the world’s leading cereal company, which is based in Trafford Park in Greater Manchester said: “Access to the European Union’s common market, with 500 million consumers across 28 countries, provides a unique platform from which we can grow our business. We’re in favour of the UK remaining an EU member state.”


What happens if we leave?

Economists talk in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which measures the total amount that a country is producing every year.  If GDP is going up, things look good for the country - more money to go round, more jobs, and a better standard of life. If GDP is going down, we get what has become all too familiar recently - fewer jobs, lower wages and people struggling to make ends meet. Leaving the EU would almost certainly mean a significant fall in GDP. In the best case scenario, experts think our economy would shrink by over 2%. In the worst case scenario, it could be more like 7-9% - which is how much GDP fell by as a result of the global financial crisis.

The EU Creating Jobs and helping our North West Economy Grow

Although all figures about the impact of the EU on jobs are contested, research suggests that at least 56,800 jobs have been created or safeguarded as a result of EU...

  • We can’t stop pollution or climate change at our borders- but we can do something about them by working with other countries. EU rules have made our beaches, rivers and air cleaner, protected nature and wildlife and helped slow the progress of global warming.
  • The European Parliament has been proactive about cleaner air agreeing a new national emissions ceiling which could prevent over 20,000 premature deaths due to poor air quality in the UK every year and save billions in health related costs. Additionally vehicle emissions have declined by over 80% in the last 20 years alone because of strict EU regulations.
  • The EU’s Natura 2000 network recognises sites of natural importance, such as the Ullswater Oakwoods in Cumbria. Ullswater Oakwoods show an outstanding collection of non-vascular plants and is home to a number of saproxylic insects.
  • Money from the LIFE programme is also enabling the restoration of lowland raised bogs at Bolton Fell Moss, South Solway Mosses and Roudsea Wood and Mosses.
  • It has also been used to fund better recycling infrastructure and communication across the region, such as the joint ‘Up and Forward’ programme with Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA).


The North West is home to an array of unique and wonderful natural habitats many of which need our protection. The EU has recognised this, creating 11 sites of special protection in the North West. For British environmental organisations, our membership of the EU continues to be a vital source of funding to aid conservation work. This means that the UK now has cleaner water, safer beaches, and thriving environments for some of our most endangered species.


Global warming

Global warming presents a real threat to our future security and prosperity. The only way we can address it is through international co-operation, as global warming is blind to borders. The EU is at the forefront of the fight to combat global warming, and in 2014, the EU as a whole agreed to cut greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030. The EU led the way in the development of the Kyoto Protocol and continues to put pressure on countries both inside and outside the EU to reduce their emissions and work towards a sustainable future.


Cleaner air

Over 50,000 people die prematurely every year in the UK because of poor air quality – and the UK government has done very little to tackle this, only taking action when forced to by the courts. On the other hand, the European Parliament has been proactive on this issue, agreeing a new national emissions ceiling. EU regulations have already had a significant impact on the air we breathe – vehicle emissions have declined by over 80% in the last 20 years alone because of the need to meet increasingly high EU standards.


Cleaner beaches and rivers

The UK was one of the slowest countries to clean up its beaches, with raw sewage still being pumped directly into the sea right up to the late 1990s. Improvement of the quality of our natural water resources has largely come about as a result of the EU's Bathing Water Directive and its various successors, plus actual or real threats of legal action from the EU, which have forced successive UK governments to clean up our rivers and beaches.




As little as 20 years ago oxygen levels along the length of the Mersey could not support fish, but now the river has improved, fish thrive in the waters and Atlantic grey seals from Liverpool Bay even occasionally venture into the estuary along with bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise. In 2009 it was announced that the river is ‘cleaner than at any time since the industrial revolution’ and is ‘now considered one of the cleanest rivers in the UK’.


The EU's Blue Flag certification, which is awarded to beaches and marinas with high environmental standards, has played a key part in making our beaches and waters clean. In 1988, only 65% of UK beaches passed the Blue Flag requirements, but by 2014 that figure had risen to 99.5%.



Protecting nature and wildlife

The EU has also been a driving force in the conservation and upkeep of natural habitats in the North West. It has provided both a regulatory context for conservation and significant funds to the UK to enable the safeguarding of important habitats. This has meant that areas of natural beauty within the North West have continued to provide a haven for wildlife. One example is the €2m Cumbria Initiative Project to remove toxic and nutrient emissions from the waste stream of the manufacture of purified acid before it was discharged into the Irish Sea.


The EU has taken a leading role in recognising sites of natural importance through its Natura 2000 Network of which over 150 are located in the North West, such as the Sefton Coast, Morecambe Bay and Martin Mere. This recognition, along with our membership of the EU, means that the UK government has an obligation to care for these sites, and entitles us to funding from LIFE – the key environmental funding body of the EU – which holds an annual budget of over €300 million. With over 40 projects in the North West having benefited from this funding, it’s clear that conservation has been strengthened significantly by our involvement with the EU. The LIFE fund also provides precious funding for national organisations such as The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds that runs schemes such as the ‘Bowland Wader Project’ supporting wading birds and farmers in Lancashire.


What happens if we leave?

Leaving the EU would put at risk many existing conservation projects currently implemented in the UK, as well as the many others in the pipeline. At a time when government spending is being severely restricted, it is likely that many of these projects will not be taken on by the UK government. With extra legal protection removed for many of our natural areas, the minority of businesses which damage our environment would be able to evade their responsibilities with impunity. And, outside the world’s biggest trading bloc, we would lose our current ability from inside the EU to have a real influence on countries like China and India when it comes to international climate change negotiations.

The EU and the Environment in the North West

We can’t stop pollution or climate change at our borders- but we can do something about them by working with other countries. EU rules have made our beaches, rivers and...


  • Between 2007 and 2013 the North West has shared another £700m in EU funding
  • Between 2014 and 2020 the North West will receive over £845m in EU funding
  • One important stream of EU funding is the European Social Fund, which is focused on improving education and employment opportunities. This includes Cheshire West and Chester Council being awarded more than £400,000 of ESF to help support some of the Borough’s families in overcoming barriers to get back into employment.
  • Manchester University alone has received over £23m in ERDF funding towards the National Graphene research institute.
  • Merseyside has had a love affair with European funding since 1994 when £700m of funding was allocated under the Objective 1 programme. In 2000 another £928m followed. It is now a ‘Transition Region’.
  • Another EU funding stream, Horizon 2020, provided €2.66 million to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) who will lead on an international project to set a global ethical standard for research.
  • As a result of EU investment in the North West, 6,160,000 additional visitors have visited the region between 2007 and 2013, with a total visitor spend of over £413,000,000.



For 40 years EU funded projects have been instrumental to bringing new jobs and investment to the North West. EU money allowed much needed regeneration and investment across the region, and continues to receive investment from the EU with €1,131.6 million to come to the North West from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Structural Funds (ESF) from 2014 to 2020. From research grants for students to helping businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, the EU’s investment in the North West makes a big contribution to our growing economy.

Invests in our universities

The North West has a reputation for educational excellence, with 13 universities including Lancaster University, the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool. These universities gain a huge amount from the EU with the University of Manchester receiving £23m in ERDF money for Graphene research, and the University of Liverpool receiving £10m in ERDF money towards the construction of a new Bio Innovation Hub. Researchers and scientists from across the North West have often only been able to produce their ground-breaking work because of European Research Council grants.


Thousands of students studying at universities in the North West take part in Erasmus exchange schemes, meaning more young people than ever from the UK are reaping the benefits of studying in another European country. And the Erasmus scheme helps British students too, who can travel abroad to gain skills to help them with their future careers without having to break the bank, since a special Erasmus grant helps to cover the extra costs of living abroad for students. Students who have spent a year abroad on Erasmus programmes have an unemployment rate 23% lower than other students too – showing the economy can benefit as well as individual students. Erasmus builds links between universities all over Europe – and these links can also develop into academic and business opportunities.


Invests in Small Businesses


The EU has invested £4.7 billion in England, supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It’s expected that 65,000 SMEs will have received support because of this investment by 2023. That includes 20,000 enterprises being expected to be able to actively innovate and create new products or processes as a direct result of this investment. £2.6 billion of this funding will come from the European Regional Development Fund, which focuses investment on research, support for SMEs and developing a low carbon economy.


The European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB), lends money to projects that support the EU’s objectives and helps finance schemes across the North West and the rest of the UK. In 2014, the EIB invested £5 billion in the UK’s economy - that’s more than 20% more than the previous year (2013). This money allows large scale projects to be funded, such as the £500 million for Metrolink extension and improvement programme cross Greater Manchester.

Other examples of EIB funding in the North West include €120 million for urban regeneration in Manchester, €185 to support the expansion of Liverpool Port, a £50.7 million long-term loan to build 11 new schools in the Region, over €60 million for Alder Hey hospital and the £100 million North West Urban Investment Fund.


What happens if we leave?

Leaving the EU would mean that automatic access to all this investment would stop. It would be harder for researchers to have their projects funded, damaging the North West’s reputation for excellent higher education. British students studying foreign languages and other students who wanted to experience a year abroad would find it harder to get financial support without the Erasmus scheme. This might lead to only wealthy students being able to afford to study abroad – a massive step backwards for social mobility and equality of opportunity. Small businesses would have less support from the EU, and would have to take fewer risks, meaning less exciting new innovation.

The EU Delivering Vital Investment in the North West

  Between 2007 and 2013 the North West has shared another £700m in EU funding Between 2014 and 2020 the North West will receive over £845m in EU funding One...

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