Issue 42


May - June 2015

The view from Europe's environmental professionals on the future of the EU Nature Directives formed the centre piece for ENEP's presence in Green Week 2015.  As the European Commission's principle environmental policy event, Green week focused on the REFIT, the Commission's consultation and evaluation of the impact and benefits of EU nature legislation.

In its contribution to the open consultation held in light of the refit of the Birds and Habitats directives, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has stressed that poor implementation and a perceived lack of urgency by Member States should be seen as the primary causes for deficiencies in outcomes.According to the latest results from the Article 17 of the Habitats Directive only 16% of European Habitats and 23% of community interest are in favourable conservation status.[1]

As part of its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), the European Commission is undertaking a Fitness Check of the EU nature legislation, the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive ('the Nature Directives'), which will involve a comprehensive assessment of whether the current regulatory framework is “fit for purpose”.

News of the European Commission's emerging agenda for “better regulation" is the subject of discussion in Brussels .In particularly, the European Commission is seeking to call on the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to prioritise initiatives that would simplify or improve existing laws, make sure that the laws already in effect have been properly evaluated, to see whether existing tools could be used to do the job and systematically include — in every new law — provisions to allow monitoring and future evaluation.

A cross-party group of MEPs has asked the European Commission to propose even stricter recycling targets if it is to fulfill its pledge of tabling a more ambitious circular economy package.

EU industry spent less on environmental protection as a share of GDP in 2013 than a decade ago, while the public sector and specialized producers increased spending slightly, according to Eurostat.  Industry spent 0.4% of GDP in environmental protection, a drop of 0.02 percentage points, according to figures released last week.

Newly installed solar power capacity in the EU fell 32% last year as policy changes and competition form other energy sources continued to undermine the sector’s development. The 6.9GW in new capacity added in 2014 was down from 10GW in 2013 and 22GW in 2011, research institute Eurobserv’Er said. By contrast, the global solar market continued to grow, fuelled mainly by Asia (with China alone adding another 10.560 MW of capacity in 2014).

The European Commission needs to put a value on all the benefits of energy savings if it is to fulfill its pledge of putting energy efficiency on an equal policy footing with generation, a coalition of industry and NGOs have argued. Implementing the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle enshrined in the energy union strategy requires the EU to end its bias towards prioritizing increasing energy supply over savings in its energy decision-making, the Coalition for Energy Savings argue

The UK will offer a financial incentive to consumers that install renewable heat energy generating technologies certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, an independent third party standard. The standard for heat pumps has been changed to align with the requirements of the Energy-related Products Directive.

This was notified in the EU’s technical regulation information system on 11 May.

The UK Supreme Court has ruled on 29 April that the Government’s plans to cut illegal levels of air pollution in Britain are insufficient to meet targets for 2030 and ordered it to deliver new ones by the end of the year. The Supreme Court Justices were unanimous in their decision, handed down this morning, saying: “The new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue.”