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Most EU countries failing to ensure effective access to industrial pollution information

More than half of the EU’s Member States are failing to share crucial information about highly-polluting activities effectively online.  Many are failing to meet even the minimum requirements for transparency required by EU law. In research published recently by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) looked into 26 EU Member States, Norway and a number of regional authorities and has found a huge divergence in the quality and quantity of information available. Researchers looked for the minimum information required by the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive, a key European law that’s supposed to help reduce pollution and raise standards across a range of big industries. The law requires authorities to publish operating permits online alongside a justification for the permit being issued and certain other specific information. Some Member States went further and shared significant amounts of other relevant data, including details data on the quantity and type of pollution being emitted. The information concerned includes permitting conditions for all major industrial plants in the EU, including coal-fired power stations, large waste incinerators and intensive agricultural facilities. The findings pose serious questions about some countries’ commitment to European environmental protections and compliance with international access to information requirements.

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Issue 56