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.
“In order to efficiently process environmental complaints, the Commission
needs to have prompt Member State answers to its letters. It is therefore
very disappointed to have to resort to legal action just to obtain answers,”
commented EC Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Meanwhile, Italy’s seven outstanding replies primarily involve complaints
about alleged infringements of environmental legislation from improper waste
management, landfill site operation and waste incineration plant operation
in several locations including areas around Naples, Milan and Siena.
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