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EU Related Policies

Principles and Objectives of Community Action in the Field of the Environment

Community policy in the environment domain is focussed on achieving the objectives set out in article 174 of the EC Treaty such as, preserving, protecting and improving the quality of the environment, protecting human health, promoting a prudent and rational use of natural resources and promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or world-wide environmental problems.

Several principles have to be respected within this framework: the precautionary principle; preventive action; rectification of environmental damage at source; the polluter pays principle; the subsidiarity principle; and the proportionality principle.

Further, Article 6 sets out a new principle that environmental requirements must be integrated in the definition and implementation of the Community policies in particular with a view to promoting sustainable development .

Summary of Environmental Legislation in Force

Some examples of EC Environmental legislation are as follows:

General Issues:
Directives 85/337/EEC and 97/11/EC on environmental impact assessment;
90/313/EEC on access to environmental information;
91/692/EEC on harmonisation of reports.

Air / Industrial Plants:
Directives 80/779/EEC on sulphur emissions;
84/360/EEC on industrial plants;
88/609/EEC on large combustion plants.

Directives 76/160/EEC on bathing water;
76/464/EEC on protection of water against pollution by dangerous substances;
83/513/EEC on cadmium;
82/176/EEC on mercury;
80/68/EEC on groundwater;
80/778/EEC on water for human consumption;
91/271/EEC on urban waste water;
91/676/EEC on protection of water against pollution caused by nitrates used in agriculture;
2000/60/EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy.

Directives 75/442/EEC and 91/156/EEC on waste;
91/157/EEC on batteries;
94/62/EEC on packaging waste;
99/31/EC, on landfills.

Nature / Biodiversity:
Directives 79/409/EEC on wild birds;
92/43/EEC on habitats and fauna and flora protection;
99/22/EC on zoos.

Industrial Risks:
Directives 82/501/EEC and 96/82/EC on the prevention of industrial risks (SEVESO).

Directives 90/219/EEC and 90/220/EEC on genetically modified organisms.

67/548/EEC on dangerous substances (and its over 25 modifications).

79/113/EEC on construction plant and equipment;
86/594/CEE on household appliances;
84/538/CEE lawnmowers;
95/27/EEC on excavators.

Integrated directives:
IPPC : 96/61/EC on integrated pollution prevention and control.

Some specific topics are dealt with in some more detail below.

1. Climate Change:

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