NORWAY: The Norwegian Government has decided to make renewable energy exempt from investment taxes with effect from January 1999, reports Reuters. The exemption will apply to windpower and bioenergy, as well as heating and distribution grids for national gas. It is intended to increase the use of renewable energy sources.

ITALY: The Italian cabinet has approved draft legislation aimed to fight the country’s growing ‘Ecomafia’ by introducing new environmental crimes into the penal code. If approved by Parliament, the new crimes, principally pollution offences and illegal waste trafficking, will carry sentences of up to ten years imprisonment and fines of up to 300 million Lira (approx £100,000), reports Reteambiente.

ITALY: SMEs on the island of Sicily will be entitled to apply for government funding for the introduction of environmental management systems under a new scheme starting on 30 May this year, reports Reteambiente.

SPAIN: The Aznalcollar zinc mine was re-opened this week, one year after the collapse of a tailings dam caused a major pollution incident last April. The re-opening was authorised by the Andalucian regional government two weeks ago.

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