Environment, Land & Resources

Category Archives: European Environmental and Public Law

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European Parliament Calls for Tougher Environmental Liability Rules

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) aims to prevent, remedy and/or compensate for environmental damage. ELD seeks to achieve this through the “polluter pays principle”, ensuring businesses are held legally and financially accountable for environmental degradation that results from their operations. However, Member States have varied considerably in implementing ELD, … Continue Reading

French HOP Complaint May Test Whether Planned Obsolescence Is a Misdemeanour

By Paul Davies and Michael Green In August 2015, the French government amended the French Energy Transition Law to include provisions rendering “planned obsolescence” a misdemeanour. In the latest wording of the provisions, article L.441-2 of the Consumer Protection Code (Code de la consommation) defines planned obsolescence as “… resorting to techniques whereby the entity … Continue Reading

European Parliament: Substances of Concern in the Circular Economy Are Difficult to Address

By Paul Davies and Michael Green A new European Parliament briefing highlights the benefits of, and difficulties associated with, transitioning the chemicals industry to a circular economy. The traditional economy typically involves purchasing and using a product, and then disposing that product when it no longer has utility (i.e. the “take-make-dispose” approach to resources). Conversely, … Continue Reading

Portuguese Children Crowdfund Climate Change Suit Against 47 Countries

By Paul Davies and Michael Green Six Portuguese children are raising funds to sue 47 European countries, asserting that their right to life has been threatened because governments have allegedly failed to adequately deal with climate change. With the support of lawyers from the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN), the children will ask nations in … Continue Reading

China’s Pilot Programmes Welcome Announced Launch of Emissions Trading System

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate Chinese policymakers have indicated that the country’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) — which will be the largest system of its kind globally and the centerpiece of Chinese climate change policy — is likely to launch in November 2017 “at the very earliest”. The delay will enable China to announce … Continue Reading

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) Flags Dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA)

By Paul Davies and Michael Green On 16 June 2017, the Member State Committee (MSC) of the ECHA unanimously agreed to identify BPA as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under the REACH regime. BPA is common in a variety of household products, typically used in the manufacture of plastics and resins found in … Continue Reading

European Commission Proposes Action to Streamline Environmental Reporting

By Jörn Kassow and Eun-Kyung Lee On June 9, 2017, the European Commission (EC) published its Action Plan to Streamline Environmental Reporting (COM(2017) 312), summarising the findings of its review of reporting requirements following the 2015 ‘Better Regulation Initiative.’ As part of this 2015 Initiative, the EC carried out a fitness check focused on assessing environmental … Continue Reading

Pharmaceuticals in The Environment: What will EU Environment Roadmap Mean for Pharmaceuticals?

By Paul Davies, Elisabetta Righini and Rosa Espin On 28 April 2017, the European Commission (the EC) published a “roadmap” on the strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment, particularly in the aquatic environment. Concurrently, the EC launched a 12-week open public consultation to address the environmental pollution caused by human and veterinarian pharmaceutical substances. … Continue Reading

“Spain United for Climate”: The Proposed New Climate Change and Energy Transition Law

By Paul Davies and Rosa Espin Spain is leading the fight against climate change with a proposed new Climate Change and Energy Transition Law. The Spanish government regards climate change as one of the greatest challenges facing the country. Since 22 April 2016, the Paris Agreement (which sets out a global action plan to avoid … Continue Reading

Update: Stricter EU Environmental Performance Standards to Apply to Large Combustion Plants by 2021

By Jörn Kassow and Patrick Braasch Emissions from approximately 2,900 large combustion plants in the EU, including coal-fired power stations as well as peat, oil and gas power plants, are now likely to be subject to stricter environmental performance standards. These updated standards (“Best Available Techniques Conclusions for Large Combustion Plants” – BREF LCP), based on … Continue Reading

The European Conflict Minerals Regulation – What are the Key Take Away Points?

By Paul Davies and Michael Green The European Conflict Minerals Regulation (the Regulation) was approved by the European Council on 3 April 2017. Publication in the Official Journal of the European Union will be the next step in the process and this could take 3-6 weeks. The Regulation will be directly applicable in all EU … Continue Reading

“Final warning” on Air pollution from the European Commission

By Michael Green, Elisabetta Righini, Joern Kassow, Rosa Espin, Eun-Kyung Lee, and Cesare Milani. On 15 February 2017, the European Commission (the Commission) sent final warnings (a Reasoned Opinion) to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom for failing to comply with the air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Under EU law, Directive 2008/50/EC on … Continue Reading

Environment: The Year Ahead

By Paul Davies, Antonio Morales, Jörn Kassow, Joachim Grittmann and Cesare Milani The year ahead presents a series of challenges and opportunities for the development of environmental law across Europe. Notably, the Paris Agreement came into effect on 4 November 2016 and is now binding upon the signatory countries. The European signatory countries will therefore be … Continue Reading

Sustainability: The Road to a Circular Economy

By Paul Davies The launch of the Ecodesign Working Plan 2016-2019, covering the eco-design and energy labelling framework last month is another key milestone in the Commission’s plan to transition the EU to a more circular economy. Key points to note from the Working Plan include: The current state of play is that the Commission … Continue Reading

Italian Constitutional Court declares the question of constitutional legitimacy on the “Spalma-Incentivi” Decree ‘groundless’

By Cesare Milani On December 7, 2016 the Italian Constitutional Court (the “Constitutional Court”) rejected the appeal filed by four solar energy operators against Art. 26, paragraphs 2 and 3 of Italian Law Decree no. 91, dated June 24, 2014, (the “Decree”, so-called “Spalma-Incentivi” Decree), (introduced in 2014 by the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government). … Continue Reading

German Nuclear Phase-Out Legislation is Partly Unconstitutional

By Alexander Wilhelm and Joachim Grittmann The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (FCC) on December 6 ruled that while the phase-out of nuclear energy (enacted in 2011) is in compliance with the constitution, Germany’s energy suppliers which operate nuclear power plants have to be compensated “reasonably”. Although the German legislator is primarily obliged by the … Continue Reading

European Commission Publishes the New Winter Package

By Antonio Morales and Leticia Sitges Last month, the European Commission presented a package of measures, known as “the Winter Package”, to strengthen the EU’s competitiveness in adopting and leading the clean energy transition. In addition to promoting energy efficiency, the clean energy transition will continue to offer a wide range of investment opportunities. During 2015, … Continue Reading
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