The European Commission has sent several Member States a warning for failing to adopt several environmental related legislations. A first warning has been send by the Commission to twelve Member States regarding their failure to submit river basin management plans by 2009, as required by the Water Framework Directive. The Member States concerned are Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain. The Commission is also referring Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice for failing to complete the transposition of the spatial data infrastructure into their national laws as required under Directive 2007/2/EC. Furthermore, Belgium will face the ECJ for failure to implement the water quality standards as set out under the Groundwater Directive into its national legislation by 2009. The UK has been send a final warning for exceeding EU air quality standards for dangerous airborne particles known as PM10, which may have negative effects on health. The limit values are particularly exceeded in the Greater London Urban Area and in Gibraltar.
According to a report published by the NGO Justice and Environment (J&E) on access to justice in environmental matters, the Aarhus Convention is applied insufficiently and very differently across the EU. The reports main concern regards the implementation of Article 9 which is known as the third pillar of the Convention. It provides for access to judicial protection by allowing the public to challenge national and local authorities over environmental decisions. Such access to judicial protection is however not provided to individuals in Austria and the Czech Republic. In Slovenia and Germany, NGO’s are able to challenge environmental decisions but only under strict environmental conditions. Similar inconsistencies on the implementation of Article 9 were found in the policies of Estonia, Croatia, Spain, Hungary, Poland and Romania. The report provides recommendations for EU institutions and calls on the European Commission and EU judges to ensure proper implementation of the Aarhus Convention across the EU.
According to a report by the Ecomafia 2010, an average of three environmental crimes per hour took place in Italy in 2009. The majority of the crimes took place in the sectors waste, cement and fauna. The highest number of infringements was registered in the south of Italy. Against 2008, the number of crimes have risen 11% leading to over 28,000 environmental crimes. Illegal waste activities have increased by 33.4%, among which the case of the Naples crisis in which the ECJ recently condemned Italy for breaching EU waste legislation.
Added to Sectors, Chemicals
The European Commission has made a recommendation to Member States concerning the monitoring of acrylamide levels in food. The substance can be formed during common cooking processes such as frying and baking. Consequently, it is likely that many people have been exposed to acrylamide in their diet. Research into the effect of the substance on human health is ongoing, however studies have shown it to be a cancer producing substance in laboratory animals. The UN has labeled it as a major concern and the EU has added the substance to the REACH Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern earlier this year. Based on a report published last month by the European Food Safety Association (EFSA), the levels of acrylamide in 2008 against 2007 have increased in some food groups, for example in potato crisps and instant coffee. EFSA is currently carrying out an exposure assessment into the total amount of acrylamide that people consume. The first submission for this round of monitoring is due in June 2011.
As part of the EU Member States joint project to assess companies’ compliance with the REACH regulation, the REACH-EN-FORCE project has been carried out. The specific objective of the project was to investigate the companies’ compliance towards the pre-registration and specific requirements applicable to the safety data sheets (SDS) obligations. Based on the project’s report presented by the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement, non compliance with REACH obligations was found in 24% of the 1.600 inspected companies. Most non-compliance cases were related to minor errors. A more serious error concerning infringement of Article 5, the ‘no data, no market’ provision, was found in 2.6% of the companies investigated. The enforcement project resulted in three cases of a criminal complaint, 12 cases of fines and 169 cases of an administrative order. The enforcement project has been extended to spring 2011 in order to assess compliance with the first registration deadline of 30 November 2010.
The French government has proposed to include a ban on lead and its compounds in jewellery and on biocide dimethylfumarate (DMF) under the REACH regulation. According to the French government, several cases of lead poisoning among children have been reported in France. With regards to DMF, which is sometimes used to preserve goods in storage, the EU had adopted a temporary ban on imports of products containing biocide last year. The ban expired in March this year. DMF is already banned in EU-manufactured goods under the 1998 biocides Directive, however France seeks to permanently ban the substance under REACH as well. The European Chemicals Agency will consult France’s proposal with stakeholders before making a recommendation to the European Commission.
Added to Sectors, Energy
As part of the 2007 EU strategic energy technology (SET) plan, which aims to develop and deploy cost-effective low carbon technologies, four major projects have been launched at a conference in Madrid. These projects, referred to as European Industrial Initiatives, are based on solar power, wind power, electricity and carbon capture and storage. During the conference two further projects were announced to be launched in November this year. The projects will focus on bioenergy and on fourth-generation nuclear reactors. The European Commission indicated last year that an additional investment of €50 billion will be required in order to develop the necessary technologies by 2020. The signatories to the SET plan agreed to this estimation, however questions regarding the funding of the European Industrial Initiatives remain unanswered.
Added to Upcoming Events
An intensive two day programme has been organised to give a sophisticated and comprehensive understanding of the issues facing the pharmaceutical industry from EU regulation. The programme will give a thorough training for Life Sciences lawyers and Regulatory Affairs professionals in the crucial regulatory competencies needed to work within the protocols of the European Medicines Agency (the EMA) and other bodies responsible for regulation of the pharmaceutical industry.
Location: Meliá White House Hotel, London, United Kingdom
Date: 22-23 September 2010
This two days conference will provide an insight into the complex regulatory framework and real-life practical solutions to the legal challenges which will shape the future of nuclear legacy management. Furthermore, the event offers an opportunity to hear from the experts, take part in interactive discussions and be a part of this exciting period for operators, supply chain members and their advisors.
Venue: Manchester, United Kingdom
Date: 30 June – 1 July 2010
Added to Vacancies
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a semi-autonomous body which deals with intergovernmental co-operation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The NEA Radiation Protection and Radioactive Waste Management Division is looking for a specialist, with confirmed experience, to carry out various scientific, technical and policy-related activities in support of the NEA programme of work of the Radioactive Waste Management Committee (RWMC). The job holder will work on long term safety issues for long-lived waste disposal, and related strategic, technical and scientific aspects to build confidence in waste management approaches and implementation.
Location: Paris, France
Deadline: 1 August 2010
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is seeking a senior officer for its Animal Health and Welfare Unit. EFSA provides independent scientific advice on food safety issues throughout the food chain. EFSA’s Risk Assessment Directorate is currently composed of ten Scientific Panel support Units, including the Animal Health and Welfare Unit. The job holder will be responsible for providing scientific and administrative assistance and will have to monitor and contribute to regulation developments among other duties.
Location: Largo, Italy
Deadline: 1 July 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)
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