European Parliament committee to criticise slow progress on urban wastewater treatment

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has announced that it will be presenting a draft resolution criticising the slow implementation of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive across the European states.

Although the aim of the directive is to protect the environment from the effects of the discharge of urban wastewater, and biodegradable wastewater from the food processing industry, member states are failing to report their progress, leaving a substantial gap in knowledge as to the effectiveness of the directive, say parliamentarians.

The draft resolution will underline the importance of the legally binding timetable of the Urban Wastewater Directive, and that it is the responsibility of the member states to transpose the rules of the directive into national law, and to ensure that they are put into practice. The draft will also call on the European Commission to submit a report on the extent to which the member states are succeeding in implementation of the directive, and to use all legal instruments available to chase up all those not meeting requirements.

MEPs have announced that they consider it scandalous that the obligations to provide information have been so inadequately fulfilled. In 2001, it was not possible to verify compliance with the first deadline which fell at the end of 1998. The second deadline – at the end of 2000 – has also expired without any worthwhile information having been made available. Parliamentarians want all information obligations imposed under the directive to be fulfilled immediately.

MEPs have welcomed the Commission’s initiative to organise a ‘name and shame’ seminar on the implementation of the directive, and would also like the Commission and the European Parliament to work together in setting up regular seminars on directives with bad implementation records.

A debate on the draft resolution is due to take place on Tuesday 12 March.

Last week, the Commission announced that it would be bringing prosecutions against ten member states for failures over waste disposal and water treatment (see related story).

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