The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2005 and 2005 Deselect

  1. The act implementing Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise was passed. The act introduces noise mapping and actions plans pursuant to the directive. For this purpose, in future all major roads, major railways, major airports and agglomerations will be mapped and the public informed about the results. Based on these noise maps, noise action plans will be drawn up in consultation with the public in order to prevent or reduce environmental noise and to prevent an increase of noise in quiet areas.

  2. SEA (Directive 2001/42/EC) came into force in German law with the amendment of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law (UVP-Gesetz) in June 2005.

  3. The deposit of untreated waste from human settlement has become illegal without any further exceptions. A transition period of twelve years terminated end of May. Within this period communities and disposal industries have prepared for the amendment of the waste deposit regulation.

  4. A revised schedule for the phasing out of oil tankers and a new regulation banning the carriage of heavy grade oil in single-hull oil tankers enter into force on 5 April 2005. The measures were adopted in December 2003 as amendments to Annex I of the MARPOL Convention, following the November 2002 sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off the Spanish coast.

  5. The "Electrical and Electronic Equipment Act" (Act Governing the Sale, Return and Environmentally Sound Disposal of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) enters into force. From March, 26, 2006 on consumers may return aged electrical and electronic equipment to municipal collection points free of charge. Producers will have to take care for the disposal of the collected equipment. Germany is one of the first EU member states that implements Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

  6. The new Flood Control Act entered into force on 10th May 2005. For the first time, the Flood Control Act lays down uniform and stringent legal provisions for the prevention of flood damage on a nationwide level. The Act is based on the Five-Point Programme which was presented by the German government immediately after the flood disaster of the Elbe river in the summer of 2002.

  7. For the first time a German town has reached the permissible impact of fine dust. In Munich the daily value exceeded 50 Micrograms for 35 times this year ? the limit value of the EC (Directive 1999/30/EC). A similar exceeding is expected for several other towns (Berlin, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Hannover) in the near future. This has caused an extensive debate about counteractive measures.

  8. Under the Kyoto Protocol which had been adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period 2008-2012 to below 1990 levels.. In order to enter into force, the protocol had to be ratified by at least 55 countries with a combined emission of at least 55% of all industrial nations. The number of ratifying countries had been reached very early, but not the required share of emission. The US who is the major polluter had bailed out the protocol. Finally, in November 2004, Russia ratified as the 128th party which raised the emission share to 61.6%.

  9. A new Environmental Information Act enters into force. Citizens obtain considerably improved access to information on the environment. All public authorities of the federation as well as certain private institutions will be obliged to disclose information on the environment. The obligations of the state authorities will be regulated on the state level ? till then the EC Directive will be directly applicable. The federal administration is obliged to active disclosure of information more than before, increasingly by means of the Internet. The Environmental Information Act implements the amended Directive 2003/4/EC on public access to environmental information, as well as the Aarhus Convention.