Documents considered by the Committee on 11 July 2018 Contents

2Environmental policy reporting obligations

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of environment policy and thereby amending Directives 86/278/EEC, 2002/49/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2007/2/EC, 2009/147/EC and 2010/63/EU, Regulations (EC) No 166/2006 and (EU) No 995/2010, and Council Regulations (EC) No 338/97 and (EC) No 2173/2005

Legal base

Articles 114, 192(1) and 207, TFEU; QMV, Ordinary legislative procedure

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Number

(39813), 9617/18, COM(18) 381

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

2.1In order to be effective, environmental policy must be effectively monitored and enforced. To that end, EU environmental legislation includes reporting obligations. Following a review (a “Fitness Check”), the Commission proposes to streamline reporting obligations across a number of Directives. The amendments should: increase transparency; provide an evidence base for future evaluations; and simplify and reduce administrative burden for Member States and the Commission.

2.2The proposal covers EU legislation in the following areas:

2.3The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (David Rutley) sets out in his Explanatory Memorandum14 the Government’s initial assessment of the policy implications for identified areas. He is supportive of most of the changes, but has concerns about the proposed changes to the Environmental Liability Directive and to the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) Regulation.

2.4The Environment Liability Directive contained a one-off reporting requirement to provide data on the first few years’ implementation by 2013. It is proposed to replace this with an ongoing obligation to collate and publish information on incidents involving, or potentially involving, “environmental damage”. Doing this in the UK, says the Minister, would potentially require considerable administrative effort, involving multiple authorities and with unclear benefits. Furthermore, the information which the Commission considers should be made public may in some cases be unobtainable, commercially confidential or its publication might adversely affect the conduct of legal proceedings. The Government will seek further clarification from the Commission on its proposals and work to ensure changes are proportionate and yield any intended benefits.

2.5Concerning the E-PRTR Regulation, the Commission proposes to reduce the reporting period for Member States from 15 months to nine months after the end of the reporting year. This is in order to streamline it with related legislation such as the Industrial Emissions Directive. The proposed shorter period may present problems for UK authorities, who are required to collate information from a large number of industrial sites. The Government is working to influence discussions in Brussels to reach an achievable compromise.

2.6The legislation is a draft Regulation. As such, it will enter into force upon formal publication of the final adopted text and will be directly applicable in UK law, assuming it enters into force before the end of the implementation period (i.e. by 31 December 2020).

2.7It is welcome that the Commission is seeking in principle to streamline reporting obligations, but it is clearly necessary that the outcome delivers on that objective. The Minister has highlighted areas where the Commission’s proposals risk creating new obstacles rather than removing them. We support the Government’s approach and look forward to an update on progress. The draft Regulation remains under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of environment policy and thereby amending Directives 86/278/EEC, 2002/49/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2007/2/EC, 2009/147/EC and 2010/63/EU, Regulations (EC) No 166/2006 and (EU) No 995/2010, and Council Regulations (EC) No 338/97 and (EC) No 2173/2005: (39813), 9617/18, COM(18) 381.

Previous Committee Reports

None.


4 Directive 86/278/EEC.

5 Directive 2002/49/EC.

6 Directive 2004/35/EC.

7 Directive 2007/2/EC.

8 Directive 2009/147/EC.

9 Directive 2010/63/EU.

10 Regulation (EC) 166/2006.

11 Regulation (EC) 338/97.

12 Regulation (EU) 995/2010.

13 Regulation (EC) 2173/2005.

14 Explanatory Memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, dated 14 June 2018.




Published: 17 July 2018