Commission adopts plans for pollution register

The European Commission is to set up a European Pollutant Emission Register (EPER), covering emissions of 50 pollutants from 20 000 individual industrial facilities across the European Union.

The register is being hailed by the Commission as an important instrument for the public and industry to access pollution information, and to provide comparable data on industry emissions and environmental performance. Governments will also be able to use the register to monitor their achievements in meeting targets in national and international environmental agreements.

Forming a key element of Council Directive 96/61/EC concerning Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), the register is also linked to the 1999 Aarhus Convention on “Access to information and public participation in environmental matters”. The EPER will be a further step to improving public awareness and to meeting the needs for the public “right-to-know”, says the Commission.

Member states will be obliged to report to the Commission every three years, with the first reports being sent in June 2003, regarding emissions in 2001. The disseminated data, including site specific information on individual industrial facilities, will be publicly available on the internet.

The objectives of the European Pollutant Emission Register are:

  • public accessibility to data on specific pollutants released by individual industrial facilities;
  • encouraging the public to compare the achievements of industrial facilities and sectors, as well as of different countries;
  • naming and shaming to encourage the public to ask questions about the environmental performance of industry;
  • indentification of chemicals and providing quantitative data on releases into the environment;
  • to enable governments to monitor industrial emissions and to demonstrate improvements in the environment.

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