A second informal stakeholder meeting to discuss the creation of an EU waste implementation agency was held earlier this month. At the meeting, Member States acknowledged that there were “serious problems” in law implementation across many parts of Europe and agreed that this was something that should be addressed.
European Commission Vice President and Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen has warned against cutting the European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi)’s budget. He told Parliament’s Environment Committee that the proposal from EU Member States to cut the budget from €30 million to €25.3 would undermine REACHi.
Concerns regarding the confidentially of information submitted by companies in REACHi IT and REACH Information Portal for Enforcement were raised during ECHA’s board meeting in September. Alain Perroy, Director General of CEFIC, said that it was the responsibility of ECHA and the Board of Management to ensure that confidential information received by the agency was not disclosed, and pointed out that the commercial damage caused by such a leak could potentially be huge.
Industry is likely to be able to see the text of agreed changes to Safety Data Sheet (SDSi) requirements before the end of the year, according to ECHAi. Although the Regulation is likely to be published in February or March 2010, the text should be available for scrutiny by industry in November. SDS requirements are laid down in Annex II of REACHi. A draft EU Regulation designed to align these requirements with the CLPi Regulation will be presented to the REACH Regulatory Committee on 20 October, and, if approved, will likely see the Regulation published early next year.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has said that further IT tools to help companies submit classification and labelling (C&L) notifications are expected to be available in February or March next year. Although companies can currently submit notifications now using IUCLID 5.1 (see previous article), ECHA has suggested that companies should wait until the new IT tools are available. One of these will be a new version of IUCLID (5.2) which will include a classification, labelling and packaging (CLPi) notification template for the creation of dossiers.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has been urged to provide better support to help companies register chemical substances under the EU’s REACHi regulation. Only 123 of 651 full registration dossiers submitted so far have been accepted by ECHA. The remaining dossiers have been resent to applicants because they were considered incomplete.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has made a call for information on the reproductive toxicity of a specific chemical substance in September. According to ECHA, the aim of the call is to receive relevant data with a view to making sure that animal testing is carried out only as a last resort. This is the first time that this type of public consultation, which is foreseen by the REACHi Regulation, has been made. In this instance, the registration concerns a new substance with a complex and variable composition that cannot be made public by ECHA.
The first amendment to the Regulation on test methods for chemicals under REACHi (Reg 440/2008) has been published in the European Union (EU)’s Official Journal. The European Parliament and the Council both adopted the Commission proposal without changes. The Regulation was modified to add four new test methods and update two existing ones, including a new in vitro test method designed to reduce the number of animals used in testing chemicals for skin irritation, specifically rabbits which are most commonly used.
The Working Party on Energy has met a number of times this month to discuss proposed amendments to Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings.
The Commission has proposed that the Directive’s scope be extended in order to cover buildings that are less than 1000m2. As approximately 70% of buildings in the EU are under 1000m2, this would create new energy performance requirements for the majority of buildings in Europe.
In an address to the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee in the first week of September, Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Maud Olofsson, spoke of the need to ‘send a clear message to the international climate negotiations in December in Copenhagen’. Particularly important, she stressed, would be reaching an agreement with the European Parliament on the energy efficiency package.
President Barroso told Green MEPs on 9 September that no decision had been made on whether DG Environment’s climate policy portfolio would be transferred to a new European Commission department on energy. He was responding to rumours that the promised new DG Energy would be responsible for climate policy under the direction of a new Commissioner for Climate and Energy. Denmark is in the running for the prestigious new post, with Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard being one of the favourites for the new post.
France, the UK and Germany are front-runners in the transition to a low-carbon economy according to a new report produced by the London-based not-for-profit organisation E3G and the Australian Climate Institute. The report focused on the G20 countries, which together account for around 75% of world GDP and nearly 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Swedish Environment Minister, Andreas Carlgren, spoke to the European Parliament’s Environment Committee at the beginning of September, asking it to continue to push for a 30% global reduction in carbon emissions. He warned, however, that the measures planned by developing countries are still a long way from what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has deemed necessary in order to keep to the two-degree target.
The European Commission has released its draft list of sectors at risk of carbon leakage. This would entail 164 sectors and sub-sectors free carbon allowances from 2013 onwards according to stringent benchmarks.
The Court of First Instance has ruled that the European Commission exceeded its powers of review of National Allocation Plans (NAPs) of Estonia and Poland. The Court has therefore annulled decisions made by the Commission limiting the number of EU allowances the two countries receive between 2008 and 2012. As a result, the Commission will have to restart negotiations with both Member States on their NAPs.
A new consultancy report produced for DG Environment has argued that the EU should consider aligning its two environmental assessment Directives; the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIAi) 85/33EEC and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (SEA) 2001/42/EC in order to improve clarity, ensure consistency and harmonise the key stages and elements of the two pieces of legislation.
A recent Eurobarometer poll of European citizens shows that 75% of Europeans think that alternative fuels should be used to reduce greenhouse gases. This belief was strongest in Greece, Denmark, Slovenia and Slovakia (90%, 87%, 86% and 86% respectively) agreeing with the proposition ‘Alternative fuels such as ‘biofuels’ should be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’, while Germans, Maltese and Luxembourgers proved more sceptical (68%, 64% and 61% agreeing respectively).
CEMBUREAU recently took part in the first Cement Trade Associations Policy Workshop, held in Seoul, Korea, the day before the 7th Cement Task Force Meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate.
A Cimeurope Consortium is being put in place to prepare a joint Registration dossier (including the technical dossier, chemical safety assessment, chemical safety report, exposure scenarios and guidance on safe Use) for flue dust from cement clinker production. This substance covers the EINECS entry “Flue dust, portland cement” with EC number 270-659-9.
A study on how the European Commission plans to monitor the effectiveness of implementing REACHi regulations has been published. The Commission will focus on three main aspects: identifying any reduction in chemical risk; analysing the quality of public data on substances and analysing the data on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of substances. These indicators address several central elements and objectives of REACH, e.g.