More than half of the EU’s Member States are failing to share crucial information about highly-polluting activities effectively online.  Many are failing to meet even the minimum requirements for transparency required by EU law. In research published recently by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) looked into 26 EU Member States, Norway and a number of regional authorities and has found a huge divergence in the quality and quantity of information available.

Anti-pollution measures for pulp and paper installations will be subject to improvement once the latest best available techniques (BAT) are formally adopted before January 2014 in the form of BREF documents that set out standards if permits are to be awarded under the Industrial Emissions Directive. A final draft of the document, was published by European Commission’s Agency in Seville. Permits for installations will have to be updated within at least four years of the BREF’s being published in the EU’s Official Journal according to the IED directive.

Transparency was the hot topic at Thursday’s 4.30pm session ‘Air Quality & Industrial Emissions: BAT Conclusions and their Impact on Air Quality’. BAT conclusions are used in writing BREFs, which are documents whose purpose is to keep technical legislation up to date without having to restart any lengthy process for new legislation in Brussels. Essentially it is like changing the small text on a contract without signing a new one. Unsurprisingly the conference centered on explaining how the IPPC ‘Sevilla Process’ for BREFs is fully inclusive and fair to all stakeholders.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has challenged the way the EU deals with endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) claiming that a risk assessment approach would be more appropriate. There are currently two strands of thinking when dealing with dangerous chemicals such as these, the hazard-based approach, which is the current strategy used by the EU, or a risk-based policy which is now being put forward by EFSA. The hazard-based approach follows the idea that a hazard only becomes a concern once the exposure level goes above a certain level.