Added to Case Law, ECJ
The European Court of Justice has condemned the UK for failing to apply limitations of emissions of certain pollutants into the air as required under the 2001 Large Combustion Plants (LCP) Directive 2001/80/EC. The case concerns a coal-fired power plant in Lynemouth that supplies power to a major aluminum smelting work. Under the LCP directive, plants that make direct use of the products of combustion in the manufacturing process are exempted from the emission limits. Since 2006, the UK stopped applying emission limits to the Lyemouth power plant arguing that the energy that it generated was directly used for aluminum production and that it was therefore exempted from the application of the directive. In December 2009 the European Commission declared during a session of the Court that exempting the plant would result in an unjustified competitive advantage in respect of similar aluminum producers in the EU. This statement was backed by Advocate General Kokott who also stated that electricity is not a product of combustion and can therefore not be a product that is directly used in the manufacturing process. The ECJ backed both these statements and ruled that there are no environmental advantages which would justify exempting the power plant from emission limits under the LCP directive.
In the preliminary ruling concerning the Augusta roadstead case the European Court of Justice provided answers in favor of the Italian administrative court (applicant). The Augusta roadstead situated in Sicily has been affected by recurring incidents of environmental air pollution dating back to the sixties as a result of the establishment of the Priolo-Melili site. The site has now been declared as a ‘Site of National Interest for the purpose of decontamination.’ With the aim to remedy the pollution in the region, the Italian authorities required the undertakings bordering the Augusta roadstead to take the necessary measures and bear the costs on the basis of the Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC. Various companies brought actions against the decision upon which the Regional Administrative Court, Sicily referred to
the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling concerning the interpretation of the Environmental Liability Directive. In its first question, the Italian court questioned whether the polluter pays principle precludes national legislation from imposing remedying measures based on a causal link without carrying out of a specific investigation. The Court found that the principle does not preclude such national legislation on the basis of the presumption of a causal link. Furthermore, the Italian court asked whether the directive allows a substantial change in the measures that are already being implemented for remedying environmental damage. The Court found that the competent authority is permitted to substantially alter the measures provided that all stakeholders and involved parties are heard.
Added to Sectors, General
The European Commission has decided not to extend the scope of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters by applying directive 2003/35/EC providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment. According to directive 2003/35/EC public participation in environmental decision-making is required on plans and programs related to activities on waste, batteries, nitrate pollution in water, hazardous waste, packaging waste and ambient air quality assessment.
Added to Sectors, Energy
Italian authorities have confirmed that the cargo that was seized in Venice on 31 March 2010 contained biodiesel imported illegally. The biodiesel had reportedly been exported from Canada, but according to the European Biodiesel Board (EBB), there is strong evidence that the biodiesel was in fact initially exported from the United States. The EBB also stated that the seized cargo “is part of wider trans-shipment traffic aimed at evading existing EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on US biodiesel”. In 2006, the European market was severely affected by dumped biodiesel and highly subsidized imports from the US. The EBB lodged a complaint and in response an investigation was conducted by the European Commission. As a result, countervailing duties were imposed on biodiesel imports from the US in early 2009.
Added to Sectors, Chemicals
According to the Rapid Alert System for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX), one out of four consumer goods notified by the EU in 2009 presented a chemical related risk. This is a 7% rise in notification compared to 2008. RAPEX believes that this increase in EU’s notifications is due to goods that contain dimethyl fumarate (DMF) which is a substance that the EU banned in all consumer products in 2009. DMF is used to preserve goods such as leather in storage. Out of the full list of 2000 notifications, 60% concerned goods manufactured in China. Toys continue to be goods with the most notification of dangerous products representing 30% of the entire list. Notifications on textile product have also increased from 9% in 2008 to 23% in 2009. RAPEX reported that further international cooperation in partnership with European standards body CENELEC is ongoing in order to improve the safety of products.
Added to Sectors, Climate Change
The European Commission has decided to approve revised National Allocation Plan (NAP) of Poland for distributing EU allowances during the 2008-2012 trading period of the EU Emissions Trading System. The plan allocates 208.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually to Polish firms covered by the EU ETS. Initially, Poland had proposed for an emission cap of 284.5Mt. The Commission decided to revise this cap downwards to 208.5Mt. Poland launched a legal challenge against the decision of the Commission and won. EU insisted that the European Court of Justice’s ruling did not mean that the recommended cap would change significantly. The revised NAP is still in line with the Commissions initial proposal of 208.5Mt.
Added to Sectors, Energy
The Finnish government has given a preliminary permission to the Finnish utility TVO and the international consortium Fennovoima for the building of two new nuclear power plants to be completed by 2020. The preliminary plan will need parliamentary approval and the Finnish green party which is part of the governing coalition has already declared its opposition to the plan. According to Greenpeace, the design plans of the two nuclear plants are subject to serious safety flaws since the plans fail to separate the control system from its safety system.
Added to Sectors, Transport
According to the European Automobile Manufacturing Association ACEA, 17 EU member states apply CO2 based car taxation and 15 member states offer direct incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. Such incentives mainly take the form of tax reductions and exemptions applied to car registration taxes and car circulation taxes. Although there has been a steady increase in the number of countries basing car taxation either wholly or partially on a vehicle’s CO2emissions, there is little support from the member states for a harmonized CO2-based car tax. According to ACEA, the standardization of CO2 based taxation in the member states will contribute to reduce CO2 emissions in the EU. Carmakers have time until 2015 to limit the EU entire CO2emission fleet to 130 g/km.
Added to Sectors, Water
During a conference held by green group EEB in collaboration with the European Commission on water framework in Barcelona, Mediterranean countries were warned regarding their failure to implement correctly EU legislation on water . From the conference it emerged that water metering, which is crucial to prevent illegal abstraction of groundwater for irrigation, proves to be a problem in Spain and Greece. Another issue that proofs to be an obstacle for the Mediterranean countries concerns tariffs in the agriculture sector. Although this sector accounts for 80% of water use in Southern Europe, farmers are against tariffs for water. The conference also made clear that Spain, Italy and Greece have failed to produce river basin management plans and consequently face infringement proceedings under Community law.
Added to Upcoming Events
Futuresource is a three sustainability conference during which environmental, water and waste facilities and service management will be showcased. This event will include 350 exhibitors, over 60 free seminars, high level conference, live interactive demonstrations and business networking opportunities.
Location: Excel, London
Date: 15-17 June 2010
This two day conference is a unique opportunity for anyone managing risks in Agriculture and Manufacturing, Mining and industrial Operations. The event will help you plan future strategy as well as implement practical steps on managing your water scarcity risk offering the chance to learn from leading global experts. The conference will offer the latest updates and information on policy, standards and most recent data. The differences between water quality and water quantity will be investigated and methods using case studies will be presented.
Location: Thistle Marble Arch, London, United Kingdom
Date: 29-30 April 2010
This seminar will provide insight on practical tools and processes that are necessary for improving and maximizing returns to your business through carbon reduction commitment. The seminar is also a good opportunity for brand exposure.
Location: Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom
Date: 13 May 2010
Added to Vacancies
The Environmental Sustainability KTN is looking for an enthusiastic person to join their team to provide innovation support to businesses and academics in the UK, promoting networking and building new collaborations, including collaborative R&D projects. IKTN is a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation funded by the Technology Strategy Board, based at the University of Oxford and works particularly in the area of sustainable energy.
Location: University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Deadline: Not mentioned. Job posted on 27 April 2010
The Internal Market Affairs Directorate of the EFTA Surveillance Authority is seeking a lawyer to handle cases in its Food Safety Unit. The Directorate will be responsible for the surveillance of the implementation and the application by the EFTA States of the EEA legislation related to food and feed safety, animal health and welfare, veterinary medicinal products, residues, seeds and fertilizers.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Deadline: 3 May 2010
Wybe Th. Douma (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Jens Hamer (Court of First Instance of the European Community, Luxemburg)*
* All views expressed are entirely personal and can in no way be attributed to the General Court or ECJ
Leonardo Massai (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Iram Velji (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)
Marco van der Harst (T.M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague)