The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2012 and 2012 Deselect

  1. On 31 December 2012, the Euro VI norm entered in force. Thanks to new European legislation nitrogen oxides and dust emitted from new types of trucks and buses will be lowered. It means a reduction of 80% in emissions of nitrogen oxides and 66% in particulate matters.

  2. New rules that entered into force on 13 August 2012, will see EU citizens better informed about major threats posed by industrial plants in their immediate vicinity. The rules are part of an otherwise technical update of the Seveso Directive. The Directive obliges Member States to draw up emergency plans for areas surrounding industrial installations where very large quantities of dangerous substances are to be found.

  3. On 13 August 2012, the improved rules on the collection and treatment of e-waste entered into force introduces a collection target of 45 % of electronic equipment sold that will apply from 2016 and, as a second step from 2019, a target of 65 % of equipment sold, or 85 % of electronic waste generated. Member States will be able to choose which one of these two equivalent ways to measure the target they wish to report. From 2018, the Directive will be extended from its current restricted scope to all categories of electronic waste, subject to an impact assessment beforehand.

  4. On 17 July 2012 new rules on biocides entered into force. The new regulation offers more efficient provisions for the authorisation of products, the requirements and sharing of product-related data. It will save industry an estimated 2.7 billion euros over a period of 10 years. The new provisions also reduce animal testing by making data sharing compulsory and encouraging a more flexible and integrated approach to testing. A dedicated IT platform (the Register for Biocidal Products) will be used for submitting applications as well as recording decisions and disseminating information to the public. Protection will also be extended as the new legislation will now include goods and materials which are treated with biocidal products, such as furniture and food packaging. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will be given a key role in the administration of this regulation.

  5. As from 1 July 2012, the EU organic logo will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic food products produced in EU Member States which meet the necessary standards. The logo will stay optional for non-packed and imported organic products. Other private, regional or national logos will continue to be allowed to appear alongside the EU label.

  6. On 14 June 2012, the Seveso III rules were approved by the European Parliament with 593 votes in favour, 10 against and 7 abstentions.

  7. With the votes of the ruling Conservative/Liberal coalition, the German Bundestag (Parliament) adopted an amendment of the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG – ref. no. 17/8801 as amended by the Economics Committee, ref. no. 17/9617). The bill aims to increase the share of combined heat and power in the German energy mix from roughly 15% to date to 25% by 2020.

  8. On 4 April 2012 the Federal Administrative Court in Germany backed the night-flight ban at Frankfurt airport.

  9. On 10 February 2012, the Council adopted a regulation following an agreement with the European Parliament in order to restrict the use of phosphates and other phosphorus compounds in consumer laundry and automatic dishwasher detergents in order to reduce the level of phosphorus poured into the waters. In addition to domestic detergents, the scope of the regulation also includes detergents used in public laundrettes. The limit value for consumer laundry detergents is set at 0.5 grams of phosphorus per washing process in a standard washing machine, and it will be applicable as from 30 June 2013. The limit value for consumer automatic dishwasher detergents is set at 0.3 grams ofphosphorus in a standard dosage, and it will be applicable as from 1 January 2017.

  10. A draft overall compromise package on the Regulation on the Placing on the market and use of biocidal products was agreed by the Permanent Representatives Committee on 23 November 2011. After the 2nd reading plenary vote by the European Parliament on 19 February 2012 and the adoption by the Council, the new law will apply as of September 2013.

  11. The European Parliament and European Council have reached an agreement in December 2011 regarding the revision of the WEEE Directive. The agreement was approved by the European Parliament on 19 January 2012.

  12. The revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, adopted by the Bundestag on 30 June 2011 and passed by the Bundesrat on 8 July 2011, also made comprehensive amendments to the Biomass Ordinance (BiomasseV) which become effective on 1 January 2012.