European Commission takes action against Italy and Ireland

The European Commission is taking action against Italy and Ireland for failure to respond to Commission queries on environmental complaints. A second warning letter is being sent to these Member States, reflecting the Commission’s concern that it is not receiving the usual degree of co-operation it expects.

“In order to efficiently handle environmental complaints, the Commission needs prompt Member State answers to its letters,” said Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom. “I am particularly disappointed that Italy and Ireland have not only failed to answer the Commission’s original letters but have also failed to respond to the Commission’s first warning letters for non-co-operation.”

This action follows a review of the co-operation of all Member States with regard to complaints, which is required to clarify facts and to state official positions. Whilst co-operation is generally satisfactory, there are some problems, particularly with Italy and Ireland.

With regard to Italy, the complaints are all concerned with the country’s management of waste:

  • a landfill of solid metallurgic waste in Samolaco is alleged to cause chrome pollution in the water catchment of a natural park designated as a special protection area (SPA) under the Community’s Wild Birds Directive;
  • a waste incineration plant in Ventotene is claimed to be polluting air, soil and water;
  • a proposed landfill in Spoltore is said not to have undergone an environmental impact assessment;
  • an urban waste incineration plant in Rende, is thought to cause air, soil and groundwater pollution, and to be of danger for human health.

With regards to Ireland, the complaint is concerns failure to apply the safeguards of the Wild Birds Directive to a range of projects affecting Dublin Bay, where there are two SPA’s.

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