EC warns four member states for delays in responding to environmental complaints
The European Commission has begun enforcement action against Ireland, Italy, France and Spain over their alleged delay in providing EC officials with environmental information. The EC says that Ireland has a particularly poor track record in replying promptly to EC correspondence on environmental complaints.
First warnings were sent last November to Ireland, Italy and France and this time around Spain has been added to the list. The EC states that "in general, Spain, Italy and France answer Commission requests on time", but it admits that "in the case of Ireland, despite some recent improvements, delays in answering are a more regular feature".
The EC has spelled out the nature of the complaints which still await replies from the four member states.
In the case of Ireland, the EC is waiting for details regarding the following:
- pig farm developments in County Kilkenny (Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Dangerous Substances Directive)
- declines in water quality of Lough Gill, County Sligo (Dangerous Substances Directive)
- failure to designate a tributary of the River Liffey and the alleged impacts of a quarry at Brittas, County Kildare (Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and Freshwater Fish Directive)
- alleged operation of a waste facility without a waste permit at Cullinagh, Fermoy in County Cork and alleged pollution of water by chlorine and hydrocarbons as a result (Framework Waste Directive and the Groundwater Directive)
France has failed to reply to EC letters regarding two situations. The first involves an alleged failure to remove wastes properly from Ales at a site where a car racing track is planned (Framework Waste Directive, Groundwater Directive and Dangerous Substances Directive). The second complaint awaiting a reply from French authorities involves mineral extraction in the Grounde Estuary and canalisation of the River Garonne. Both sites are habitats for an endangered species - the Sturgeon (Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Directive).
The EC has warned Spain over its failure to provide information in response to three complaints. They are:
- alleged failure to protect salmon along a section of the River Mino where the Frieira hydro-electric plant is situated (Freshwater Fish Directive)
- alleged failure to undertake an environmental impact assessment for the enlargement of a road, despite the fact that the road crosses an important wild bird conservation area known as the Petrola-Almansa-Yecla (Enviornmental Impact Assessment Directive)
- complaint that canalisation works within the Albufera special protection area in the province of Valencia may have infringed on the Wild Birds and Habitats Directives
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