Issue 20

Newsflash

February 2013

The biggest annual conference on European environmental policy, Green Week, will taking place from 4th – 7th June at the Egg Conference Centre, Brussels. To mark the European Year of Air and the Review of the Thematic Strategy on Air, the theme for this year will be Air Quality. After running successful stands in 2011 and 2012, ENEP is pleased to announce that we have submitted a joint application with the European Federation of Clean Air and Environmental Protection Associations (EFCA) for a stand at the Green Week 2013 exhibition.

New funding opportunities for 2013 have been released including;

Eurostars Eureka: Aims to stimulate SMEs to lead international collaborative research and innovation projects by easing access to support and funding. It specifically targets the development of new products, processes and services and the access to transnational and international markets.

This May, REAL CORP will be exploring the relationship between time and space and how the planning practice and theory relates itself to this complex synergy. Discussions will be held on theories and methods as well as hands-on experience on how planning deals with space in time in order to plan both our cities and regions. We will be exploring questions such as:

•                How to plan taking into account time, both past history and future development?

In an unprecedented move, Janez Potočnik appealed directly to MEPs on the environment committee to reintroduce the text on 12th March in the Strasbourg plenary session of Parliament on cross compliance with environmental legislation covering groundwater, sewage sludge, nitrate pollution, natural habitats and wild birds.

A second round of funding under the NER300 scheme is feared to neglect renewable energy projects in favour of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The minutes from the Climate Change Committee – 64th session showed that some “Member States stressed the need of ensuring that CCS projects would be awarded funding under the second call, while others highlighted the importance that RES projects would not be neglected under the second call”.

A study undertaken by GHK Consulting Ltd and Bio Intelligence Service for DG environment has suggested that the cost of offsetting damage to biodiversity in Europe could be between €30,000 and €100,000 per hectare. The study aimed to look at the potential demand for, and supply of, habitat banking in the EU which “is an instrument that can be used to deliver compensation by implementing and pooling compensatory measures in advance of a development, enabling developers to purchase credits from established compensation schemes (habitat banks) to offset their impacts.

The Water is a Human Right initiative has become the first European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to be backed by at least one million EU citizens and will now be reviewed by the European Commission for consideration as draft law. The ECI, established in April 2012 by the Treaty of Lisbon, is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate.

The WHO, in a review on the health effects of air pollution, has recommended that that the EU should have tighter air quality standards for pollutant PM2.5. Current EU law has a limit value of 25ug/m3 to be met by January 2015, and an indicative limit value of 20ug/m3 from January 2020, subject to a review in 2013. The Review of evidence on health aspects of air pollution (REVIHAAP) concluded that there is a “strong need” to at least lower the 20ug/m3 limit.

The European Commission has concluded that the use of chemicals in the EU has become safer since REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances) came into force five years ago. The legislation sets out a timetable for manufacturers to register 30,000 of the approximately 100,000 chemicals on the market in Europe. Under the EU’s precautionary principle, European businesses are obliged to find substitutes for chemicals deemed potentially unsafe.

On Friday 8th February, European heads of state and government reached a deal on the EU budget for the period 2014-20. The total budget of €960bn (€908bn in actual payment obligations) represents a 3% reduction from the last 7 year deal and is the first time in EU’s history there has been a real-term cut in budget.