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Technical control of nuisances and pollution in the workplace

The European Commission, DG V, has recently published the final report on "Assessment, dissemination and measurement of the impact of the fifth research programme on technical control of nuisances and pollution at the place of work and in the environment of iron and steelworks...
The European Commission, DG V, has recently published the final report on "Assessment, dissemination and measurement of the impact of the fifth research programme on technical control of nuisances and pollution at the place of work and in the environment of iron and steelworks".

The fifth European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) research programme on "Technical control of nuisances and pollution at the place of work and in the environment of iron and steel works" covered the period from 1984 to 1994 and funded 86 research projects, to an average level of ECU 300,000.

The publication is divided into six sections:

- Introduction, including the objectives of the programme, and assessment methodology;
- Assessment of the programme by sector: Air, water, waste and landfill, and noise;
- Analysis of the programme, including whether the aims were achieved;
- Current and future research requirements;
- Conclusions and recommendations.

The main conclusions drawn from the report include:

- The strengths of the programme include the level of industrial involvement, trans-European cooperation and multidisciplinary integration;
- 64% of the projects largely achieved their original objectives;
- It is unclear to what extent the research on curative measures to improve existing techniques for purification can be sustained by future research programmes;
- The research on preventive measures will be covered in future research;
- ECSC industries are proving reluctant to investigate new purification technologies, such as biotechnology.

The recommendations of the report point to the fact that the research programme has been a very specific instrument. In view of the approaching transfer of all ECSC activities into the European Community, with the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in 2001, ECSC research in fields such as this must now be opened up to accommodate the enlarged framework of the European Union's general research policy, whilst still retaining sufficient financial support to cater for the specific needs of the sector. The report calls for bridging funds and proper arrangements to be made for transferring and integrating ECSC research activities into the RTD Framework Programme.

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