France, UK, Italy and Austria fail on environmental impact assessments

The European Commission is taking legal action against four European member states for failures to comply with a law requiring environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for public and private projects.

The Commission is referring the UK and France to the Court of Justice due to shortcomings in their legislation on environmental impact assessment. The UK has also received second written warnings for failing to carry out EIAs for the White City project in London, and for a project involving the burning of wastes in cement kilns in Lancashire. France has failed to undertake a thorough EIA for the motorway ring road around Tours.

Two second written warnings have also been sent to Italy for failing to carry out EIAs for a yacht marina and a waste facility, and Austria has been asked to bring its legislation for the EIAs of projects aimed at restructuring rural landholdings into line with European law.

“I regret that the Commission has had to remind member states to ensure that environmentally significant projects are assessed correctly before they are allowed to proceed,” said Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström. “Impact assessment is a key tool for achieving sustainable development in the European Union.”

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