Thursday, 4 March 2004

Questions (23)

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

17 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of cases in which the European Commission has initiated legal action or announced that it intends to take legal action, arising from the failure by the Government to implement EU directives for which his Department has responsibility; the steps he is taking to ensure that all of these directives are implemented in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7152/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

There are currently six cases in respect of which the European Commission has initiated legal action in respect of non-implementation of EU directives in areas for which my Department has responsibility. The first five cases where legal action has been initiated arise with regard to directives concerning: dangerous substances in water; the protection of water against pollution by nitrates from agriculture; the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, commonly known as environmental impact assessment or EIA; the keeping of wild animals in zoos; and end-of-life vehicles. The sixth case relates to a number of waste issues.

Legislation is in place in respect of each of the above six directives, and the legal actions relate to issues regarding elements of transposition and implementation. The European Commission recently indicated its intention to withdraw the case regarding the zoos directive and confirmation of that decision is awaited. A further legal action has been notified to Ireland in respect of reporting requirements under an EU regulation on ozone depleting substances.

The European Commission announced on 22 July 2003 its intention to take legal action against Ireland regarding the proposed decision by the Government to introduce a €20 charge on citizens wishing to make submissions on development consent procedures. The Commission also announced on 29 January 2004 its intention to take legal action against Ireland for alleged failure to designate a sufficient number of special protection areas, SPAs, for wild birds and adequately to protect sites that have or require SPA status. No communication has been received from the European Court of Justice in either matter.