Issue 23

Newsflash

May 2013

The current Irish Presidency of the EU, which runs until June 2013, has taken issue with the earmarking of 75% of energy research funding for renewable energy, end-user energy efficiency, smart grids as well as storage. Leaving 15% for market uptake of energy innovations. The Irish Presidency calls the EU parliament’s earmarking for a green energy research budget “a significant departure from the spirit of the [Council of Ministers’ position] on the H2020 regulation”.

A Friends of the Earth report has claimed that if the UK leaves the EU and joins the EEA, it would no longer need to comply with some of the “most environmentally significant policies” including on biodiversity and the water framework directive. The current UK Coalition Government claims that habitat rules are hampering development  though NGOs claim there is little evidence to back this up. One safety net for the UK environment lies in the EU single market air quality and waste requirements, which the UK would need to continue adhering to in order to participate.

In a progressive move, the Government of the Czech Republic have announced plans to introduce a charge for landfilling as part of a more long term plan for a complete ban for landfilling recyclable materials.  A working group has been given the task to decide what the maximum charge should be by the end of June 2013. The actions comes as a plan to stop recycle-able or re-usable mixed municipal waste being landfilled.

On May 6th 2013 a new EU Green Infrastructure strategy was announced; which will seek to place natural systems such as wetlands, river banks or stone beaches, as the preferred solution for coastal protection or absorption of excess rain water. The strategy marks a distinct change in approach and was celebrated as a ‘Eureka Moment’ by Green Campaigners in Brussels. The EU statement on the matter argued that compared to man-made infrastructure, natural Green Infrastructure is both more durable and cheaper to use.

Green Week 2013 begins on the 4th June 2013 and ENEP will have a stand at the event. We encourage all ENEP members to try and make it to the event if they can. It runs for four days from 4th -7th June and covers the topic of Air Quality. EVENT PAGE

On May 1st the UK Supreme Court ruled that Britain is in breach of the EU Air Quality Directive. Yet immediate enforcement due to the ruling is set to be delayed up to 18 months as the Supreme Courts queries the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on certain legal issues arising from the case. The UK had already been granted a 5 year extension to the original 2010 deadline for the directive’s NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) limits. As it stands the City of London has the highest NO2 pollution of any capital city in the European Union.

At the April 29th Climate-ADAPT Conference at the EU Commission, one of the key working-group topics discussed focused on the role of private domestic insurance as  a way for the public to be financially incentivized to invest in green upgrades for their homes. Insurance was viewed as a practical way to also get local government on board from facing increasing pressure to legislate on domestic guidelines by their electorate. DG Markets Financial Director Mario Nava was on hand to promote this issue of insurance as a tool to change consumer, political and market behaviours to

On April 25th the importance the EU now places on enforcement of energy efficiency measures in its member states was highlighted. With both Slovenia and Spain being given a 2 month warning until June 2013 to fulfill their legal obligation to transpose the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive into national law. If they fail to do so the EU Commission will refer them to the EU Court of Justice. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires that member states establish minimum standards for existing and future buildings, with proper certification and inspection.

On May 2nd the ‘Brussels Environment Interns’  network group invited current DG Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik to talk about his vision for Europe in 2030.