Thursday, 4 November 2004

Questions (61)

John Gormley

Question:

39 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress he has made in the timely and correct implementation as well as proper application of EU environmental legislation since assuming office. [27590/04]

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

The Government is firmly committed to ensuring that all measures agreed at EU level are transposed within the timeframe agreed at the Council of Ministers and implemented correctly. I am keenly aware of the importance of timely transposition and effective implementation of EU environmental legislation. Some 200 pieces of EU environmental legislation, including more than 140 directives, have by now been transposed.

There are currently five outstanding directives in my Department's area of responsibility which have yet to be transposed. These include, Directive 2003/53/EC relating to end-of-life vehicles, ELVs, which contains two stages of transposition, the first by 21 April 2002, for new vehicles sold after 1 July 2002, and the second by January 2007, for all other vehicles. There have been difficulties in reaching agreement with the motor industry on ELV take-back arrangements required by the directive. However written agreement was recently reached on a scheme to provide for free take-back of all end of life vehicles from 1 March 2005, some 22 months ahead of the 2007 deadline. It is intended that the directive will be transposed in the first quarter of 2005.

Another Directive 2002/49/EC relates to the assessment and management of environmental noise. Drafting of regulations to transpose this directive is well advanced and transposition is intended in early 2005.

A further Directive 2002/88/EC relates to measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery. Draft regulations are nearing completion with a view to circulation to relevant bodies for observations prior to the year-end. It is intended that the directive will be transposed in the first quarter of 2005.

Two further related Directives 2002/95/EC and 2002/96/EC, respectively, concern restrictions on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and arrangements for dealing with waste electrical and electronic equipment. Legislative proposals approved by Government for the transposition of both directives are now in drafting.

I intend to give a high priority to completing work on the transposition of directives as rapidly as possible, and to improving national enforcement arrangements, in particular through supporting the work of the office of environmental enforcement, OEE, within the EPA. The main functions of the OEE include improving overall compliance with environmental protection legislation, auditing and reporting on the performance of local authorities in the discharge of their environmental protection functions and taking action, where necessary, and prosecuting, or assisting local authorities to prosecute, significant breaches of environmental legislation in a timely manner.