EU law infringement actions launched
Environment Daily 1703, 12/07/04
The European Commission has begun publicising its latest quarterly round of decisions on infringement action against EU-15 countries for breaching European rules. The first in a series of announcements on environmental laws was made last week. Further press releases are to be issued over the coming days.
First to emerge this quarter were warnings being sent to Italy and Greece for failure to submit national allocation plans for the EU carbon emission trading scheme.
The Commission has followed up with details of actions affecting all EU-15 states except Denmark over two water quality and two air quality directives. Further announcements will each focus on different EU-15 states.
FIRST AIR QUALITY DAUGHTER DIRECTIVE
Nine EU-15 states have been sent first warnings (formal notices) for failure to submit plans to reduce locally severe nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate pollution. The plans were required for the first time by December 2003. They should cover areas where levels of these pollutants exceed future limit values set under the directive.
Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the UK are in the firing line. Several EU-15 countries have already been taken to the European court of justice for failing to transpose the directive into national law on time.
WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE
Final warnings (reasoned opinions) have been sent to nine EU-15 states that did not transpose the EU's important water framework directive by the legal deadline of December 2003. They are Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.
URBAN WASTEWATER TREATMENT DIRECTIVE
Seven states have been sent first warnings for not installing "secondary treatment" at sewage treatment plants for towns over 15,000 inhabitants by a legal deadline of December 2000. France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK are the countries concerned. The Commission revealed widespread non-implementation of the requirement earlier this year.
OZONE-DEPLETING SUBSTANCES REGULATION
Nine countries have been sent first warnings for failing to inform the Commission of steps taken to phase-out the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide in quarantine and pre-shipment of traded crops. Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK are being tackled for sending inadequate, or no, information.
Methyl bromide is being phased out world-wide under the UN Montreal protocol protecting the atmospheric ozone layer. The EU is the only world region so far to have limited methyl bromide use in this particular application. Its controls are intended to stimulate development of alternative methods to prevent the introduction of new pests in imported crops.
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