Campaigners lobby Juncker on threat to air and waste legislation

26th November 2014


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  • Waste ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Recycling ,
  • EU ,
  • Minimisation

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IEMA

Politicians and campaigners have voiced serious concerns over plans by the European commission to axe two key pieces of environmental legislation.

In a letter to commissioners outlining his plans for a 2015 work programme, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker included packages on air quality and waste on a list of regulations to be withdrawn.

Both measures had been put forward by the previous administration. The waste package was the first piece of legislation to come forward under the circular economy initiative. Proposals include new targets for the recycling and reuse of waste and packaging, phasing out landfill, and reducing food waste generation. The air quality package would extend national emissions ceilings for pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide to 2020, tightening them further by 2030.

MEPs have written to Juncker to highlight the importance of both packages to the economy, as well as the environment and society. The letter was signed by the coordinators of all the main political groups in the European parliament, except those that the Conservatives and UKIP belong to.

Peter de Pous, policy director at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said that the UK had a lot of leverage in the commission after David Cameron’s threats to leave the EU if the UK does not get its own way over the budget. “Other states are using this as an excuse to get rid of legislation they don’t want,” he added.

Catherine Bearder, MEP and a lead negotiator on the air quality package, said that it was rare for legislation developed by previous commissions to be withdrawn. “The process is taking place behind closed doors, but MEPs are putting maximum pressure on the commission,” she said.

Juncker wants the 2015 work programme to be finalised by 16 December.

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