On 18 January 2011, the European Parliament voted in favor of the Construction Products Regulation. The vote follows the unanimous endorsement of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) on 10 January 2011, following an agreement reached with the Council in December 2010.
The regulation will formally enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. However, many of its provisions will apply only as from 1 July 2013, as a transition period is needed.
The European Commission has agreed to expand the Natura 2000 network with the addition of 17 new marine sites, covering nearly 27 000 square kilometres. The network now covers nearly 18% of the EU's landmass and more than 130 000km2 of its seas. The new expansion covers six bio-geographical zones, with major additions in Denmark, France, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Commission plans to issue a paper on financing mechanisms for Natura 2000 later in 2011.
The Commission has postponed the adoption of the proposal to review the energy products taxation Directive until 2011. The Commission was originally planning to present the proposal end of 2010, but as the adoption has been delayed. The estimated adoption date is early 2011 but further delays are possible.
Eurostat has published details of the main environmental pressures facing Europe, using data supplied by Member States. While most of the data has already been published separately in recent months, this is the first time it has been put together in one document. The aim of the publication is to encourage readers to track down the environmental data available on the Eurostat website and make their own analyses.
Several concrete agreements were made at the latest round of climate change negotiations in Cancun in December. In its press statement, the UNFCCC secretariat (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) claimed that ‘a balanced package of decisions that set all governments more firmly on the path towards a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change in the developing world’ had been adopted. The package, referred to as the Cancún Agreements, includes the following:
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced at Cancún that the EU would not unilaterally move to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. The EU also reiterated that other countries needed to do more.
The Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger has confirmed the adoption of the Energy Efficiency Action Plan for 02 March 2011 in his intervention in the European Parliament Industry, Research and Energy Committee meeting on 26 January 2011. Concrete legislative proposals are expected to be proposed after the summer 2011.
On 13 December 2010, the European Parliament issued a written declaration for improving accident prevention measures and environmental liability provisions in the extractive industries. This declaration calls on the European Commission to review the Environmental Liability Directive and to include a compulsory insurance and independent audits of accident prevention measures.
On 7 December 2010, the European Commission adopted the new Communication on the review of the Community Strategy Concerning Mercury. In reviewing the 20 actions contained in the 2005 strategy, the communication highlights that significant progress has been made in terms of implementing these actions. Of notable relevance to the cement industry is Action 1: implementation of the Industrial Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPCi - now replaced by the Industrial Emissions Directive [IED]).
On 17 December 2010, the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) was published in the Official Journal and entered into force on 6 January 2011. The Directive as published is available here: