Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (27, 28)

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

155 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the legal actions and actions of instances being taken against his Department for failure to implement EU directives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2977/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

202 Mr. Penrose 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 this country to implement EU directives for which his Department has responsibility; the steps he is taking to ensure that all those directives are implemented in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2878/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 202 together.

There are seven cases in respect of which the European Commission has initiated legal action on grounds of non-implementation of EU directives in areas for which my Department has responsibility. Six of the cases relate to directives concerning dangerous substances in water, protection of water against pollution by nitrates from agriculture, 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, end-of-life vehicles, and obligations under the law of the sea. The seventh case relates to several waste issues.

Legislation is in place in respect of all of the directives concerned, 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. Further legal action has been notified to Ireland on grounds related to 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, or 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.