EU action on sluggish uptake of pollution law

EU action on sluggish uptake of pollution law
Published: 07 November 2005

The European Commission is set to take action over member states’ slow pace of implementation on a key piece of EU environmental policy. Brussels is apparently unhappy that its 1996 Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC) has not been fully implemented by Europe’s capitals. The IPPC directive aims to regulate and limit air, water and soil pollution from large scale industrial and agricultural operations such as cement factories, power plants and intensive livestock farming. Operators must obtain a permit from their respective national authorities showing that they comply with stringent pollution prevention measures.

A new report – based on 2000-2202 figures - commissioned by Brussels shows that so far only 13 per cent of all operators in the EU 15 have been granted permits.With a looming October 2007 deadline for existing operators to conform to the directive, the commission fears that unless greater efforts are made by member states, “environmental improvements foreseen by the directive will be compromised.”

EU environment chief, Stavros Dimas said further delays could cause environmental problems. “Nine years after the adoption of this major piece of legislation and two years before the deadline for its application, many installations do not yet comply with the conditions set out,” said Dimas. “This may cause significant environmental damage.” Eight member states have ongoing infringement procedures against them over incorrect transposition of the directive, revealed the commission.